The Kids Are All Right

Directed By: Lisa Cholodenko

Starring: Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson, and Yaya DaCosta

Family dramas are a dime a dozen.  You don't have to look too long and hard to find a flick that's got some family values.  You come into these flicks knowing what to expect, and you generally get it.  A little creativity can go a long way in a family flick.  That's why I was very curious about Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right.  With a couple of rather unique plot twists and an R-rating, I was expecting a refreshing family dramedy with an edge.  Instead, I got more of the same predictable formula with a slightly different plot.

Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) are a lesbian couple with a teenage son and daughter.  Years ago, they each had a child via artificial insemination using the same sperm donor.  Their 15-year old son Laser (Josh Hutcherson) actually wants to meet his birth father, so he asks his 18-year old sister Joni (Mia Wasikowska) to reach out to the sperm bank to get their donor’s contact information.  She eventually obtains the information and sets up a meeting with donor Paul Hatfield (Mark Ruffalo) who runs an organic foods restaurant.  When Joni and Laser finally meet their biological father, they have a good time and are pleased that they were able to connect with him.  The only catch is that they don’t want their moms to know about it because this would definitely upset them.  Joni then swears Laser to secrecy.  However, Nic and Jules find out anyway, and things spiral out of control from there.

Honestly, The Kids Are All Right is just alright.  There’s nothing special or charming about the film.  It’s a basic family drama with a little heart, some family values, and an unconventional twist.  I came into this film expecting some bold, innovative depiction of a modern American family.  I came out of it feeling like I had seen a regular family drama with two moms instead of one.  Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo certainly deliver some good performances.  With the decent hands their dealt in the script however, there’s nothing noteworthy or impressive about their acting in the film.

There’s nothing terribly wrong with The Kids Are All Right.  I only have a couple of issues with this family movie.  First, it’s highly predictable.  I could call everything happening in the film after the first 15 to 20 minutes or so.  That certainly doesn’t make for a great movie.  Second, there’s a lot more drama than comedy.  I could have used a few more laughs during this one.  Lisa Cholodenko is dealing with a rather socially awkward situation here, and a little more comic relief couldn’t hurt the film.  At times, I forgot that the film was supposed to be funny because I just wasn’t laughing that much. 

I'm in the middle of the road for The Kids Are All Right.  I don't necessarily harbor any hatred for the film, but I certainly don't love it either.  This dramedy is a decent flick.  There's nothing terribly awry with the film, but there's nothing extraordinary about it either.  It's a basic family flick with a modern twist.  Have a couple glasses of Pinot Noir with this one.  The Kids Are All Right gets a 0.06% rating.