Scott Brown
September 14, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Thing About My Folks

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
96 minutes
Limited Release Date
09/16/05
performer
Peter Falk, Paul Reiser, Olympia Dukakis, Elizabeth Perkins
director
Raymond De Felitta
distributor
Picturehouse
author
Paul Reiser
genre
Comedy
We gave it a C+

You can’t fake love, the primary ingredient in The Thing About My Folks, a Paul Reiser-penned attempt at intergenerational rapprochement. Unfortunately, you also can’t hide gooey self-justification, no matter how hard you try. Thing is Woody Allen on a third-grade reading level. Neurosis abounds, but awareness doesn’t, and certain ”jokes” demand additional therapy: Any movie that casually equates ”a freshly bathed baby” with ”my father’s balls” cries out for another round on the couch. My Father’s Balls would have made a more appropriate title, actually: This is a father-and-son (Peter Falk and Reiser) road picture, the kind that builds to a big, inevitable ”I’m sorry.” Seems Mom (Olympia Dukakis) has mysteriously left Dad after more than 40 fairly ordinary years together, and sonny boy is inclined to pin the blame on pops. But the story, much like the marriage, isn’t about Mom: It’s about men not so much tackling responsibility as passing it off laterally, and finally pulling an end run into the schmaltz zone.

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