It Runs in the Family (2003 film)
|It Runs in the Family|
|Directed by||Fred Schepisi|
|Produced by||Michael Douglas
- Associate Producer -
- Executive Producer -
|Written by||Jesse Wigutow|
|Music by||Moose Charlap
Charles F. Sweeney Jr.
|Edited by||Kate Williams|
Buena Vista Pictures
|Box office||$8.2 million|
It Runs in the Family is a 2003 comedy-drama movie directed by Fred Schepisi and starring three generations of the Douglas family: Kirk Douglas, his son Michael Douglas, and Michael's son Cameron Douglas, who play three generations of a family. Diana Douglas (née Dill), real-life mother to Michael Douglas and ex-wife of Kirk, plays Kirk's character's wife.
The story involves a highly successful New York City family, each with its set of problems, and highlights the difficulties of the father-son relationship. Mitchell Gromberg is dealing with health problems resulting from a stroke. (Kirk Douglas himself suffered a stroke in 1996.) His son Alex works as a lawyer in the firm that his father founded, but is questioning the usefulness of his work and his place in the family. Alex's son, Asher, does not take college seriously and seems lost. The youngest son is 11 year old Eli, who is extremely intelligent, while being socially awkward and is entering a difficult pre-adolescent time.
Alex indulges in a thoughtless and careless brief romantic fling with Suzie at the soup kitchen they volunteer at, and his psychologist wife Rebecca discovers it, threatening their marriage. When Evelyn Gromberg, Mitchell's wife and Alex's mother dies, the family comes together to heal. At Evelyn's funeral in suburban New York, Rebecca tells Alex that she knows about his romantic fling. Alex and Mitchell talk about past hurts.
Back at their home in New York City, Asher is discovered with illegal drugs. Although devastated, Rebecca and Mitchell are supportive and vow to get help for Asher. Mitchell's older brother Stephen dies and he, Alex and Asher give him a farewell send-off. Although he is forced to sleep on the living room couch, Mitchell tells Rebecca that he wants to make peace; she agrees.
- Michael Douglas as Alex Gromberg
- Kirk Douglas as Mitchell Gromberg
- Cameron Douglas as Asher Gromberg
- Diana Dill as Evelyn Gromberg
- Bernadette Peters as Rebecca Gromberg
- Rory Culkin as Eli Gromberg
- Michelle Monaghan as Peg Maloney
- Geoffrey Arend as Malik
- Sarita Choudhury as Suzie
- Irene Gorovaia as Abby Staley
- Annie Golden as Deb
- Mark Hammer as Stephen Gromberg
- Audra McDonald as Sarah Langley
- Josh Pais as Barney
- Adrian Martinez as Mitchell's Doorman
In his role as producer, Michael Douglas suggested his mother (Diana Dill), Rory Culkin, and Bernadette Peters for their roles. Fred Schepisi noted that they were originally considering Sigourney Weaver for the part of Michael's wife. "Bernadette [Peters] was a really nice balance, playing straighter than you’d usually see her play..."
Critic Steven Holden wrote in The New York Times that the movie is a "surprisingly complex and subtle portrait", and "Besides its laudable reluctance to tie up loose ends, the most courageous thing about It Runs in the Family is its refusal to try to make you love its aggressive, strong-willed characters."
Most reviews, as tallied by rottentomatoes.com, were unfavorable or mixed; the movie has a "Rotten" rating of 28%, with the site's consensus stating "Despite its gimmick casting, the movie ultimately goes nowhere." Roger Ebert wrote: "But the movie is simply not clear about where it wants to go and what it wants to do. It is heavy on episode and light on insight, and although it takes courage to bring up touchy topics it would have taken more to treat them frankly."
- "Interviews. Schepisi, Fred: 'It Runs in the Family'" urbancinefile.com.au, August 23, 2003
- Michael Douglas listing boxofficemojo.com, accessed February 9, 2009
- Holden, Stephen."Movie Review: Fathers, Sons, Grandsons, In the Script and Real Life".The New York Times, April 25, 2003
- Ebert, Roger "'It Runs In The Family'".Chicago Sun-Times, April 25, 2003
- It Runs in the Family at the Internet Movie Database
- It Runs in the Family entry from Rotten Tomatoes
- It Runs in the Family at Box Office Mojo