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The Family Fang - DVD Review

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The Family Fang - DVD Review

3 stars

The Family Fang is a comedy-drama starring and directed by Jason Bateman, based on a novel by Kevin Wilson. Parents Caleb Fang (Christopher Walken) and Camille (Maryann Plunkett) are underground performance artists, famous for their public hoaxes and deceptions. They’re well known in the art world, but as time goes by they struggle to stay relevant. Also struggling are their adult offspring, Annie (Nicole Kidman) and Baxter (Jason Bateman). The former is an actress on the decline, and the latter’s an author with writer’s block.

As Annie and Baxter grew up, their parents involved them in various public pranks. One involved cute little Baxter holding up a bank. Another had the kids in Central Park singing, “Kill all parents!” At first, the children went along willingly. But after one piece forced them to perform as Romeo and Juliet in a school play, they slowly came to realize that art was more important to their father than their emotional well-being. Child A and Child B, as Caleb shockingly called them, were only props. Annie and Baxter came to resent this more and more.

Then one day, their parents went missing under ominous circumstances. The second half of the movie deals with this mystery: are their parents dead? Or is it part of their most elaborate hoax of all? Caleb is so unlikable, half the time you wish he really would turn up dead. Camille is more sympathetic, but mainly the movie focuses on parental dysfunction and Caleb’s in particular. All parents mess up to some degree and the Fang family is especially damaged, but Caleb’s attitude is “So what?” Without any resolution from their flawed parents, it’s up to Annie and Baxter to make peace with their strange and painful past.

The beginning of The Family Fang is entertaining, but I wish it included more of their clever pranks. The second act keeps the audience wondering as it plays with our doubts and questions. Annie and Baxter speak for the viewer, with Annie playing the determined detective convinced they’re in hiding and Baxter concluding that they’re dead or just gone. Overall, though, it’s hard to care about what happened to such detestable people. The way they treated their own children was so hard to believe, it’s a wonder Annie and Baxter don’t simply write them off when they first disappear. I mean, really. Child A and Child B? Clearly, the less they have to do with Parents C, the better.

The Family Fang - DVD Review

MPAA Rating: R for some language
Runtime:
105 mins
Director
: Jason Bateman
Writer:
David Lindsay-Abaire
Cast:
Jason Bateman, Nicole Kidman, Kathryn Hahn
Genre
: Drama | Comedy
Tagline:
The Fmaily Fang
Memorable Movie Quote: "Don't be afraid. Own the moment. If you're in control then the chaos will happen around you and not to you."
Distributor:
Starz Digital Media
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 6, 2016
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
July 5, 2016
Synopsis: A brother and sister return to their family home in search of their world famous parents who have disappeared.

The Family Fang - DVD Review

DVD

DVD Details:

Anchor Bay Studios
Available on Blu-ray
- July 5, 2016
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English SDH and Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Single disc (1 DVD)
Region Encoding: A/1

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Audio commentary with Jason Bateman. This consists of Bateman enthusing about aspects of every scene. Unless you already love the movie, give it a pass.

Special Features:

  • None

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