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With: Allen Wagner, Judy Wagner, Emily Wagner, Maggie Wagner, Judy Dixon, Billy Wirth, Andrew Wagner
Written by: Andrew Wagner
Directed by: Andrew Wagner
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 97
Date: 06/11/2004

The Talent Given Us (2005)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Family Unfair

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In Andrew Wagner's intermittently funny and grating comedy, a retired couple (Judy and Allen Wagner) drives cross-country to see their reclusive screenwriter son (played by the director). The catch here is that Wagner cast his real-life family to play themselves. His sisters Maggie and Emily are both professional actors -- the latter is best known for her recurring role on "ER." -- but the non-professionals give startlingly nuanced performances as well. Ultimately, "The Talent Given Us" is more like reality TV than a movie, and the gimmick takes precedence above the story. Oscar-winning screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin (Ghost) also appears. Unrated. 97 minutes.

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