The best you can say about “Everybody’s Fine” is that it labors hard. Regrettably, too hard to be touching and emotional. Moreover, whenever it snuggles up close to our emotions, it scrapes and irritates an already annoying experience.
Based on Giuseppe Tornatorre’s the Italian drama “Stanno Tutti Benne,” this stiff adaptation is a prime example of a truly awful remake, made all the more unbearable because it espouses and embraces the ersatz notion of pedigree.
Robert DeNiro as the dad, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell as three of his dysfunctional children: an all-star cast.
DIRECTED BY: Kirk Jones
STARRING: Robert De Niro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell, Katherine Moenning, James Frain and Melissa Leo
RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes
How can a writer and director go wrong? Here, hardly anything goes right in a drama that has nothing new to say. Or invigorating to convey.
True, there is a lot to say about parental disillusionment and assorted wake-up calls that attend and disturb a dad’s contentment. The problem here is that Kirk Jones’ adaptation lays a virtual egg. The actors can only tilt at windmills, telegraphing emotional intensity with method instead of substance.
For the record, “Everybody’s Fine” is a film conveying a sense of muted remorse. It’s a drama of loose connections trying to engage on a meaningful level. The closest it comes to a realization is the father-daughter relationship with DeNiro and Barrymore. But even this dimension falls flat.
De Niro has to know he is appearing in a manufactured bomb with pseudo-European pretensions. On a number of levels, this is a truly sad endeavor in which just about everything is far from fine.
Reach film critic Dan DiNicola at [email protected]