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"THE FAMILY STONE"
(2005) (Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Keaton) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Minor Heavy None Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None None Minor Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy None Heavy Heavy Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Dramedy: A tightly wound woman meets her boyfriend's eccentrically diverse family that seems to have it out for her.
PLOT:
For the tightly wound Meredith Morton (SARAH JESSICA PARKER), the Christmas holidays are going to be anything but merry. That's because she's about to meet boyfriend Everett Stone's (DERMOT MULRONEY) family, and if her earlier encounter with his snarky sister Amy (RACHEL McADAMS) was any indication of things to come, it's not going to be pretty.

As the couple pulls up, Amy -- fangs fully bared - tells her family that she hates Meredith and informs them of her tics and other behavior. Her mother, Sybil (DIANE KEATON), also doesn't seem to like Meredith, but that's due to a combination of some bad news and the fact that she thinks Everett is going to ask her for her mother's wedding ring to give to Meredith.

Others in the family aren't as bad, with father Kelly (CRAIG T. NELSON) and his pregnant daughter Susannah (ELIZABETH REASER) seeming nice enough. Son Thad (TY GIORDANO) and his boyfriend Patrick (BRIAN WHITE) are also there, as is the more laidback son Ben (LUKE WILSON) who seems to enjoy seeing his family getting worked up into a lather.

In fact, things get so bad that Meredith eventually goes to stay in a motel, calling in reinforcements in the form of her more outgoing sister Julie (CLAIRE DANES). The fact that the family immediately likes her -- especially Everett -- only makes Meredith feel more uncomfortable, but she does her best to maintain her composure and try to fit in. With unexpected guests, such as Amy's erstwhile boyfriend Brad (PAUL SCHNEIDER), showing up along with unexpected revelations, this is going to be one interesting Christmas at the Stone home.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Fans of holiday-themed dramedies might want to, as might those who are fans of anyone in the cast.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For some sexual content including dialogue, and drug references.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • DIANE KEATON plays the family matriarch who isn't always nice to Meredith (in fact, sometimes she's outright mean), but some of that's due to bad medical news and the fact that she doesn't want Everett to give his girlfriend his grandmother's wedding ring as an engagement ring. She uses some profanity.
  • SARAH JESSICA PARKER plays Everett's tightly wound girlfriend who feels uncomfortable and overwhelmed upon meeting his large family. She says things she doesn't completely mean, gets drunk and possibly high in one scene, tries her best to fit in and finds herself drawn to Ben when she knows that's not right.
  • CLAIRE DANES plays her socially comfortable sister who immediately fits in with the family, can't see why Meredith was making such a fuss, and finds herself drawn to Everett when she knows she shouldn't.
  • DERMOT MULRONEY plays Meredith's boyfriend who eventually stands up to his family over the way they're treating her.
  • LUKE WILSON plays his more laidback brother who's noted as being a stoner and finds himself falling for Meredith.
  • RACHEL McADAMS plays his mean-spirited sister who immediately sinks her fangs into Meredith and is rude and mean to her until late in the film.
  • CRAIG T. NELSON plays her dad who lets his wife and kids get away with treating Meredith badly, but some of that's due to being shell-shocked by bad medical news.
  • ELIZABETH REASER plays his pregnant daughter who's there with her own daughter.
  • TY GIORDANO plays her gay and deaf or hard of hearing brother who doesn't want Everett to marry Meredith.
  • BRIAN WHITE plays his compassionate gay boyfriend.
  • PAUL SCHNEIDER plays Amy's former boyfriend to whom she lost her virginity, and he still has a thing for her.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this dramedy that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 "s" word, while other expletives, colorful phrases and several instances of sexually related dialogue are present. A wife places her husband's hand on her bare chest over her mastectomy scar and they kiss, it's briefly implied that a drunken one-night stand has occurred (when a woman wakes up in a man's bed, but we later learn that's not what happened) and the bulge in a man's sweatpants is accidentally or purposefully positioned right in front of a seated woman's face.

    Varying degrees of bad attitudes are present, while various characters drink (with one getting intoxicated), various drug related comments are made and drug use is implied. Some characters briefly tussle and whack others (played for laughs), while tense family material involves some parent/adult child strife and suggestions that a family member has a terminal disease. Thematic elements include that (regarding cancer), gay-related issues and talk (a son and his life partner are part of the family) and a character being deaf or hard of hearing.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • When Ben arrives, Sybil tells him "no pot in the house" and then adds that she means it.
  • Some family members have wine, as does Patrick.
  • About first meeting Everett, Meredith says that lunch led to drinks that led to dinner.
  • Ben bangs what may be a pot pipe on a bleacher while seated out in the snow with his dad (who's eating brownies that may be laced with pot, although that's never made clear). However, when they return, Sybil asks Ben "You and daddy have fun getting stoned?"
  • Most of the family has wine with dinner, while Ben has a beer.
  • Patrick has wine.
  • Ben brings over two beers for Meredith and himself and we then see many empties already on their bar table. We later see empty shot glasses on their table as well and by then Meredith is acting tipsy and has loosened up a lot. She also buys a round of drinks for everyone in the bar. Later, she tells Ben and two other men that what would be great would be if they could figure out how to get some pot. Although the scene ends there, it's implied that they do (based on Ben's previously established reputation as a pot user). The next morning she wakes up in Ben's bed and he later comments on her being wasted the night before, but adds that they didn't sleep together.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Ben has a tiny bit of blood on his brow, while Everett has a small, bloody mark on his face from their scuffle.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • About having previously met Meredith, Amy says "I hate her."
  • Amy is mad at Meredith since the former will be put out of her room since Meredith won't sleep in the same bed with Everett (when everyone but Meredith is fine with that).
  • Various members of the Stone family are not nice to Meredith upon meeting her, and others don't correct those for being that way.
  • Amy continues to be very critical of Meredith and others.
  • While playing charades (where Meredith is the clue-giver), Amy charges Meredith with racism, stating that Meredith is pointing her finger at Patrick (who's black) since the answer is "The Bride Wore Black."
  • Sybil has a bad attitude toward Meredith.
  • Despite her earlier promising him about the following, Sybil says no to Everett when he asks for his grandmother's wedding ring to give to Meredith.
  • Meredith comes off sounding homophobic when she talks about the nature vs. nurture debate about homosexuality. She says that she can't see why Sybil would wish her kids to be gay (said jokingly by Sybil, but with Meredith not getting the point across about what she really means about being gay just adding more difficulty for a child and wondering why a parent would wish that on them). That creates a tense family scene around the dinner table, with Kelly eventually slamming his hand down onto the table while barking out "Enough!" causing Meredith to leave the table. Later, Meredith doesn't help herself any when she tries to defend herself by saying "I love the gays."
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • A drawing in the opening credits shows a boy holding a rifle or BB gun.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Tough sh*t," "Friggin," "It's like she's digging for clams" (said about throat clearing), "You're a freak," "Jerks," "Shut up," "Stick a silver spoon up a monkey's butt and he'll say please and thank you" (or something along those lines), "G*ddamn you," "I'm here, I'm queer, get used to it," "You have a freak flag, you just don't fly it," "Aren't you the guy who popped Amy's cherry?" "Don't be a jerk," "Who the hell is that?" and "Bitch" (how Meredith refers to herself).
  • Amy slaps Ben on the head, followed by Everett slapping Amy on the head (played for laughs).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A song has the repeated lyric "I fooled around and fell in love."
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "s" word, 4 slang terms for sex ("screw," "getting any" and "popped Amy's cherry"), 2 hells, 1 ass (used with "hole"), 1 crap, 6 uses of "Oh my God," 3 each of "G-damn" and "Oh God" and 2 uses each of "God" and "Jesus."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Meredith tells Everett that there's no way she's sleeping with him in the same bed in his parents' house. Later, Sybil chides her son by stating "You're saying you don't screw?" and then adds that it's silly they're not sharing the same bed. Later, Everett jokingly tells her, "Don't be thinking you'll be getting any now."
  • When Ben arrives, Sybil tells him that clothing is not optional this Christmas.
  • Everett has his hand down inside Meredith's jacket to her clothed chest, but we don't see the actual contact and nothing else happens.
  • Sybil says that Brad was the one who "popped Amy's cherry," and then refers to him as a poor guy who's still holding out for her, adding that she guesses he "got a taste of something he liked."
  • Intentional or not, the bulge in Ben's sweatpants is right at eye level with Meredith as he stands next to the car in which she's sitting and he stretches, thus pushing that bulge even closer.
  • Ben tells Meredith that she has a "freak flag" but doesn't fly it (possibly meant sexually).
  • While intoxicated and upon meeting Brad, Meredith asks him, "Aren't you the guy who popped Amy's cherry?"
  • While lying in bed (and upset about her medical diagnosis), Sybil opens her shirt to reveal her chest to Kelly. We see her mastectomy scar there and she puts his hand on it and they kiss, but we don't see anything else happen.
  • Meredith wakes up in Ben's bed (after a night of drinking and possible drug use), hearing him in the shower. She thinks she slept with him, and Kelly then opens the door and is shocked to see her there (as she is to be seen there). She then hurriedly gets dressed and briefly confronts Ben when he comes out of the bathroom with just a towel wrapped around his waist.
  • Meredith rambles on about the type of loser she is, including one who sleeps with her boyfriend's brother. Ben then tells everyone that they did not sleep together.
  • Ben looks at Meredith and suggests she get out of those clothes, causing her to shyly smile, but he continues by saying that she "smells like puke" (from the uncooked casserole that previously spilled on her -- after which we partially saw her bra as Sybil helps clean her shirt).
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Everett finally confronts his family about the way they've treated Meredith or just stood by, adding that he expected more of his father.
  • Spoiler Alert: Kelly tells Ben about Sybil that it's not good, that they only found out a few weeks ago, and that she wanted to wait until after Christmas to tell the kids.
  • Meredith comes off sounding homophobic when she talks about the nature vs. nurture debate about homosexuality. She says that she can't see why Sybil would wish her kids to be gay (said jokingly by Sybil, but with Meredith not getting the point across about what she really means about being gay just adding more difficulty for a child and wondering why a parent would wish that on them). That creates a tense family scene around the dinner table, with Kelly eventually slamming his hand down onto the table while barking out "Enough!" causing Meredith to leave the table.
  • Everett is mad at his mom over various issues, but then cries with her when he learns of some bad news.
  • Spoiler Alert: We see that a major family member is not at the following Christmas, with the strong implication being that they've died.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Cancer & mastectomies.
  • Being deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Meeting a significant other's parents.
  • We see that Thad and Patrick are gay (and there's talk about that), but there's no related sexual material. We do hear, however, that they're going to have a baby (we didn't hear if it was going to be biological from one, or adopted). Later in the film, we see that they've done just that.
  • Accepting and not judging others.
  • People who are tightly wound.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Amy slaps Ben on the head, followed by Everett slapping Amy on the head (played for laughs).
  • Julie accidentally falls from a bus and lands hard on the street (but isn't hurt that badly and it's also played for laughs).
  • We hear the sounds of Meredith crashing into things in her car as she tries to leave (played for laughs).
  • Meredith smacks Ben, but we only hear the impact.
  • Sybil opens the door, accidentally hitting Meredith holding an uncooked casserole that spills all over her and the floor. Amy then ends up slipping on that and landing on the floor hard (played for laughs).
  • Thinking Ben slept with Meredith, Everett chases him around the house (played for comedy), eventually tackling him under a table (that then collapses next to them), and repeatedly thumping/tapping Ben's face with his hand.



  • Reviewed December 9, 2005 / Posted December 16, 2005

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