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Oscar Countdown, Day 4: The Kids Are All Right

Posted on the 21 February 2011 by Cinefilles @cinefilles

Counting down the hours until Hollywood's most golden of awards galas? So are we! Semi-obsessively. Join us at noon for the next ten too-long days as we mentally prep our Oscar pool ballots and give each of this year's Best Picture nominees a once over and half.
Oscar Countdown, Day 4: The Kids Are All RightPhoto: allmoviephoto.com
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
THE RUNDOWN: As per request by their suddenly curious teenage son and daughter (Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson), two moms/overt vinos (Annette Benning and Julianne Moore) try to make room for their kids' totally charming sperm donor dad (Mark Ruffalo) in their otherwise perfectly functional family life.
WHY IT'S GOLDEN: This film completely surpassed my expectations, maybe because I watched the film after the Oscar noms were out because I felt obligated, but it won me over nonetheless. Of course, I anticipated brilliant performances by both Moore and Benning--and they were--but it was Ruffalo who really surprised me. Seriously, is he actually not a hippie in real life? This film also gives us a solid reason to look out for Wasikowska in the near future (she's got three upcoming films this year). Aside from the grade-A performances, this film also succeeds at showing us that the unconventional is actually, well, completely conventional, thanks to the mind of Lisa Cholodenko. - Michelle
WHY IT'S NOT: I came into this movie expecting to be wowed by its originality (dig the non-stereotypical non-traditional family!) and quirky dialogue, but came out feeling ripped off. Sure the performances range from way-decent (the kids, Ruffalo) to downright golden boy-worthy (most of Moore and all of Benning), but everything else comes off like most Sundance faves come real release time: methodically meh. The plot goes off in a lot of sort of interesting directions but doesn't really lead us anywhere in the end. As for the oft-praised writing? It's just alright. - Emily
THE FINAL VERDICT: Well, it's a comedy, which says a lot on it's own, and against some heavy, dramatic chef d'oeuvres, it doesn't have much of a shot.
Tomorrow, we'll let you know how 127 Hours fares.

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