Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: Burbank HomeCollections

Script can't keep up with the Steins

Reel Critic

June 09, 2006|By PHILLIP HAIN

Having gone through the ritual of planning my own son's Bar Mitzvah last year, I was curious to see the cinematic treatment this tradition received in "Keeping Up With The Steins" (rated PG-13). Suffice it to say, my experience was infinitely more pleasurable than this sporadically amusing but ultimately disappointing film.

Benjamin Fiedler (Daryl Sabara) is blessed and cursed to have his dad, Adam (Jeremy Piven), be a successful Hollywood talent agent. This means a very comfortable lifestyle and all the related excesses and competitiveness that accompany it. Because Adam's rival agent, Arnie Stein (Larry Miller), had his son's Bar Mitzvah reception on an ocean liner, Adam feels compelled that Benjamin's be even more outrageous.

Adam's misguided mantra that "it's all about the party" sets this proverbial ship in the wrong direction, centered on a totally ostentatious party at Dodger Stadium. And don't expect those Dodger Dogs that common people eat. The party planner (Cheryl Hines) recommends that this overblown soirée should have nothing less than chopped liver in the shape of baseballs. Benjamin's sensible mother (Jami Gertz) is caught in the middle, trying to satisfy her husband's need to impress with her son's desire for keeping things normal.

Advertisement

In a case of life imitating art, the film's biggest problem is that it doesn't know what it wants to be. When it was finished, the marketing team faced a big challenge: Is this movie a comedy or drama? It's a lot of both, but not enough of either.

Providing good comedy is the whole idea that Adam's estranged father, Irwin (a real hoot played by Garry Marshall), is an aging hippie who left the family more than 20 years earlier and now lives on an Indian Reservation in New Mexico with his much younger girlfriend, Sacred Feather (Daryl Hannah). But the most effective moments are when this definitely flaky but well-intentioned guy attempts to reconcile with his resentful son and bond with the grandson he barely knows.

Burbank Leader Articles Burbank Leader Articles
|
|
|