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The Royal Tenenbaums
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Danny Glover
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Touchstone Pictures
Web Site:
Kiddie Movie: They'd be bored.
Date Movie: If she likes this type of comedy, bring her along for sure.
Gratuitous Sex: You've got some nudity, sexual talk, and Gwyn kisses a girl.
Gratuitous Violence: Not really.
Action: Eli driving his car is about it.
Laughs: Lots of one liners, and jokes about human nature.
Memorable Scene: I couldn't decide between the wedding, the funeral, or the truth about Margot, so I'm going with all three.
Memorable Quote: The inscription on the tombstone.
Directed By: Wes Anderson
Produced By: Wes Anderson, Barry Mendel, Scott Rudin

The Royal Tenenbaums
A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - R

It's 1:48 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
The Dude on the Left can’t get the strange paintings with dudes in masks out of his mind. Me, scarily, after noticing those works of art, I couldn’t help but see the picture of underwear next to one of the paintings. And that’s nothing compared to the rest of "The Royal Tenenbaums" because even though those two images are stuck in two different minds, both of us agreed that the movie was hilarious, but in a whacked out way.

Gene Hackman plays Royal Tenenbaum. He’s an eccentric, rich dude married to Etheline (Anjelica Huston). They have three children: Chas (Ben Stiller), he’s a financial wiz; Richie (Luke Wilson), he’s a tennis pro who lost his talent; and Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), she’s their adopted daughter who was a talented writer when she was young, but now just has a severe case of writer’s block while she’s married to Raleigh (Bill Murray).

Royal’s got a problem. You see, years earlier him and Etheline got separated, relegating him to living at a hotel. He’s been living there ever since, and after finally running out of money, well, Royal gets the boot. Then Royal catches wind that Henry, Etheline’s accountant and bridge partner, wants to marry Etheline, and finally Royal goes to the doctor. The next thing we know Royal is begging Etheline to let him come back and live with her and their grown children because he says he only has six weeks to live. Chas has already moved back into mom’s place with his two kids, Ari and Uzi, Margot has separated from Raleigh and comes back to her old room, complete with her lover, Eli (Owen Wilson), who was Richie’s best friend and lived across from the Tenenbaums when he was a small child, and Richie makes his way home after hearing the news of dad’s impending death. Royal’s supposed mission – make peace with his kids and renew his love with his wife before he dies.

Now, this may not seem like much of a movie, but this is a movie about quirky characters, actor’s great portrayals as quirky characters, and humor pointed at the absurdity of people taken to extremes, or maybe just a step above reality. Royal really doesn’t know how to be a loving father, never really knew how to try to be a loving father, and even as he’s trying to make peace with his kids he still doesn’t know how to do it. Gene Hackman plays this perfectly with quick lines that are totally out of place, like when he meets Ari and Uzi and mentions that their mother was hot. He also doesn’t know his daughter’s middle name even though it is the same as his mother’s, and he tries to get Henry out of the picture by throwing racial remarks at him hoping to bring out a confrontation.

Also on par with Hackman are the three kids. Stiller usually seems to fare better in movies where he isn’t the lead (except for maybe "Meet the Parents), and in "The Royal Tenenbaums" he is great as the son, angry with Dad for being, well, a boob, and really not caring what happens to Pop. He just wants to protect his kids who lost their mother in a plane crash. Paltrow also does great as the daughter, pissed at Dad because she was always the "adopted" daughter, the one he never really gave encouragement, and wondering where she fit in with the family. Toss in Luke Wilson as Richie, in love with his sister (hey, she’s adopted, it’s technically okay but frowned upon), torn between loving his father and seeing him as an idiot, and not really happy with his life, because, well, he thinks Margot doesn’t love him. And not to be forgotten is Owen Wilson, the drug addicted author making his plays for Margot. It all mixes together and works perfectly. But…

My "But…" is to put this movie like this: "The Royal Tenenbaums" is not an "American Pie" type of comedy - it's an artsy comedy.  It drags at times, has some whacked-out plot lines, especially towards the end, and if you’re looking for an all-out comedy like something the Farellys would put out, you won’t find it here. This is a Wes Anderson movie, the dude who did "Rushmore," so a lot of times the comedy is dry. Hilarious, but dry. If you can let yourself get into the characters and their idiosyncrasies, you will probably love "The Royal Tenenbaums." If you are looking for a gross-out comedy, this ain’t it. I give the movie 4 ½ stars out of 5, but really only if you like this type of comedy. If not you’ll think it sucked. In any case go ahead and pay full price and buy some popcorn and a soda to boot!

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!


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