REVIEW: 'The Kids Are All Right'

REVIEW: 'The Kids Are All Right'

REVIEW: 'The Kids Are All Right', Flicks.co.nz

3 stars

Independent filmmaker Lisa Cholodenko's (Laurel Canyon) third feature, a Berlin Film Festival winning comedy-drama with Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo. Now playing nationwide. Click here for session info.

Much has been made of the outsider credentials of Lisa Cholodenko’s touchy-feely dramedy. But besides the leads’ not especially convincing same-sex relationship, a few flecks of narrative grit and frequent references to artificial insemination, it may as well be 'My Two Moms'.

Crotchety Annette Bening and wishy-washy Julianne Moore are living out a suffocating suburban existence with their kids Mia (Alice In Wonderland) Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson, the only differences being a) hey, they’re lesbians, and b) their son’s called Laser.
When original sperm donor Mark Ruffalo breezes back into their lives in a blur of smiley testosterone, their inadequacies are reflected back at them, and everyone learns a lesson, except Laser, who should probably think about using a nickname.

Starting irritatingly but improving, as awkward truths combine with comfortable clichés, the film never quite escapes the feeling of facsimile, that these are just plot points affecting convenient, movie-ish characters, rather than anything drawn from real life. Why did Bening’s control freak cede her family’s biological destiny to the same unknown man? Because it makes a good story. Why would she let her kid be called Laser? Because it sounds cool. And how, despite such a talented, femme-centric cast, does Ruffalo’s loveable idiot manage to walk off with the film?

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