Combustible Celluloid
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With: Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Elizabeth Marvel, Emma Thompson, Grace Van Patten, Candice Bergen, Rebecca Miller, Judd Hirsch, Adam Driver, Sigourney Weaver, Michael Chernus, Gayle Rankin, Danny Flaherty, Adam David Thompson, Ronald Alexander Peet, Sakina Jaffrey
Written by: Noah Baumbach
Directed by: Noah Baumbach
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 112
Date: 10/13/2017

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Art Blanche

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

With his girlfriend Greta Gerwig having gone off to make her own remarkable, wonderful feature filmmaking debut Lady Bird, Noah Baumbach is back to writing and directing his own movies. While he is sometimes capable of hitting the jackpot, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) is one of his more annoying efforts. In other words, it's a heavily Woody Allen-influenced movie about elite, overly-educated New Yorkers talking a great deal, frequently arguing, and forever seeking (and never finding) a moment of genius, or at least a great one-liner. The film follows artist Harold Meyerowitz (Dustin Hoffman) and his three children from different marriages (Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, and Elizabeth Marvel). They argue about their huge apartment and then they argue when Harold falls ill and winds up in the hospital. It doesn't help that Baumbach casts fussbudgets like Stiller and Hoffman, making everything just a little more unpleasantly tense. Emma Thompson tries to lighten things up as Harold's kooky wife, but the movie is truly blessed with the presence of Adam Sandler at his best. (Contrary to popular opinion, he is a great actor when truly challenged.) He is at his most soulful here, struggling between rage and sadness, and giving the movie its most loving moments in scenes with his teen daughter (Grace Van Patten). A song they perform together on the piano is more than every other scene put together.

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