June 18, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

The Family Tree

The Burnett family at an NRA MeetingIt’s getting so that every time I see a new J. Todd Harris and Allan Jones production I’m expecting to be blown away—and indeed the producers’ latest venture—and let’s include Kathy Weiss and screenwriter / producer Mark Lisson in here as well—“The Family Tree†is another home run. The quirky indie film packs in plenty of comedy, a pinch of pathos, an inkling of irony, a drop of drama, and just the right amount of excitement—in short, “The Family Tree†is a film with a little something for everyone.

Story opens in suburbia where we meet the dysfunctional Burnett family. To say that father/husband Jack Burnett (perfectly played by Dermot Mulroney) is dissatisfied with his life would be an understatement. Continually passed over for that big promotion at work, his sexual advances rebuffed by his wifThe Family Tree carnival scenee, Bunnie (the charming Hope Davis) and with the eminent arrival of his toxic mother-in-law, it doesn’t appear he has anything to look forward to.

Meanwhile Bunnie, immersed in her charity “flavor of the week,†has lost the ability to connect with her teenage children, Eric (Max Theriot) and Kelly (Britt Robertson). Eric, it seems, is fascinated by guns and under the sway of their local Reverend Diggs (Keith Carradine) who as it turns out, also happens to be the town’s NRA spokesperson. Eric’s depression and repressed sexuality provokes the ire of his pretty sister, Kelly—who plays it ultra-cool while hiding behind her own familial dissatisfaction.

No sooner do Jack and the kids leave the house then a masked burglar enters. Bunnie flees to the bathroom, locking herself inside. When the prowler breaks down her bathroom door, Bunnie gives him a stern “talking to†about damaging a vintage door handle. Suddenly the “prowler†becomes remorsefully apologetic. As it turns out, he’s Bunnie’s latest paramour—her successful African American neighbor Simon (Chi McBride).

During their rough and tumble tryst, Bunnie hits her head and is knocked unconscious. When she wakes later at the hospital, she’s developed amnesia, remembering only her husband and their early, blissful years. She has no recollection of her children, her strained relationship with them or to that of her lover.

While the film strikes a comedic pose, and the amnesia serves as a catalyst to jumpstart the healing of the tense familial bonds, it begs the more serious question, “What does it take for couples who find themselves in stagnating marriages to rekindle romance?†It turns out the answer is forgiveness. You know the saying “forgive and forget?†Well, because Bunnie’s truly forgotten, she’s truly able to forgive. No longer angry with her children she’s finally able to relate. Her memory loss allows her to restore her relationship to them as well as to her husband.

Director Vivi Friedman said it was the, “‘how’ and the ‘what if’ of the story†that first appealed to her. “How did a young marriage with so much hope become so unhappy and so disillusioned? What if we got a chance to push the ‘reset’-button and re-invent ourselves? How significant do the events need to be to make us open our eyes and appreciate what we have?†Screenwriter Lisson aptly answers these questions through his witty and organic dialogue.

The film, which was the official selection of the “2010 Seattle International Film Festival,†and “2010 Hamptons International Film Festival Breakthrough Artist: Rising Star, (for Robertson’s performance)†also manages to include an accidental hanging in a tree (it’s funny, trust me), a botched home invasion, a shoot-out, a jail scene, elements of infidelity, acceptance and ultimately, a happy ending.

The entire cast is terrific, but there are notable performances. Carradine, as the gun wielding, pot-smoking reverend is, as always, a delight to watch; Mulroney is fabulous as the disenchanted father/husband; Davis shines luminously as the amnesiac mother/wife; but the real scene-stealer is John Patrick Amedori as the stoner who gets beat up by a pack of hypocritical, homophobic proselytizers and is later befriended by Theriot, the couples’ son. Amedori is so clever that it will come as no surprise if this talented actor is soon starring in his own sitcom.

For more info: www.thefamilytreemovie.com

Related Posts

Bob Rosenbloom, Esteemed Owner of Bob’s Market and Community Pillar, Passes at 92

April 9, 2024

April 9, 2024

Bob Rosenbloom, the cherished proprietor of Bob’s Market on Ocean Park Blvd. in Santa Monica, passed away at his residence...

Don’t Miss Your Last Chance to Experience CORTEO by Cirque du Soleil!

April 25, 2023

April 25, 2023

The Show’s Run At The Microsoft Theater Ends On April 30  Time is running out for fans of CORTEO by...

Regulation of Short-Term Rentals in LA Failing as Enforcement Drops Significantly

April 4, 2023

April 4, 2023

Better Neighbors LA report highlights the inadequacies of enforcement measures for short-term rentals in Los Angeles, calling for increased regulation...

Non-Profit Helping Relieve Financial Burden For Cancer Patients

November 16, 2022

November 16, 2022

Cancer Cartel is helping cancer patients focus on their treatment, not the financial stress of living with a diagnosis. Learn...

100 Miles of Bus-Only Lanes Coming to L.A in Five Years?

October 17, 2022

October 17, 2022

L.A’s public transportation network is known for being slow due to traffic congestion. A new motion by L.A. City Council...

How to Wisely Manage Your Finances After a Job Layoff

October 3, 2022

October 3, 2022

Being laid off can be difficult, both emotionally and financially. It is important to manage your finances wisely during this...

Union Members Protest UC Policies in Westwood

May 3, 2022

May 3, 2022

Westwood and Wilshire protest takes place April 26 By Dolores Quintana The intersection of Wilshire and Westwood was the site...

Kale of All Kinds

March 16, 2022

March 16, 2022

Today at the Santa Monica Farmers Market we explore three different kinds of Kale from Cole Family Farms..Video sponsored by...

Name Revealed for Alice Waters’s Westwood Restaurant

October 20, 2021

October 20, 2021

Westside Dining Scene October 21, 2021 By Dolores Quintana Esteemed chef Alice Waters’s upcoming Westwood restaurant’s and the name has...

Community Volunteer Patrol Program Brings Civilians New Insight Into Law Enforcement

October 19, 2021

October 19, 2021

The West LA Police Department has a community patrol program bridging the gap between civilians and law enforcement. Video brought...

Police Seek Man Wanted for Sexually Assaulting Sleeping UCLA Student

September 2, 2021

September 2, 2021

Police are searching for a man wanted for sexually assaulting a female UCLA student while she slept. According to the...

Final Weekend of Marina Drive-In Movie Summer Series With New Movies Added

August 28, 2021

August 28, 2021

WHERE: Marina del Rey Boat Launch Ramp, 13477 Fiji Way at Parking Lot #2 COST: $20 per vehicle, per movie...

UCLA Admits Most Accomplished Class in Its History

July 20, 2021

July 20, 2021

New freshman and transfer cohorts are also among university’s most ethnically diverse By Ricardo Vazquez | UCLA Newsroom UCLA has...

Heritage Museum Reopens with Unique Exhibition

June 24, 2021

June 24, 2021

The California Heritage Museum welcomes back visitors with a unique and stunning quilt exhibition, learn more in this video brought to...