Here's an odd one: I loved it, and I hated it. The movie's too overstuffed by half with pointless people and plot lines that dangle out there like warning signs, begging you to stay away, lest you suffer the holiday heart attack brought on by rich and empty calories. Among its characters are a gay, deaf son with a black partner; a stoner (Luke Wilson) who sees the freak in his big bro's uptight fiancee (Sarah Jessica Parker); and the tragic mommy (Diane Keaton) who keeps her enormous family together during the Christmas season. And yet as ridiculous, as mawkish and schizophrenic as The Family Stone is, it's also a surprisingly endearing piece of work -- one about people who behave the way real folks would if their on-screen lives weren't always manipulated by overeager filmmakers and greedy studio bosses squeezing every last drop of sentimentality from characters who are ultimately resistant to such unbecoming behavior. In short, the movie works in spite of itself.
Director: Tom Bezucha
Writer: Tom Bezucha
Producer: Michael London
Cast: Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Claire Danes, Luke Wilson, Craig T. Nelson, Brian White, Ty Giordano and Elizabeth Reaser