×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Eulogy

Excruciating entry in the dysfunctional family field. Nine very good actors are wasted, if not embarrassed, by the thoroughly unconvincing shenanigans perpetrated by first-time writer-director Michael Clancy, while a tenth -- Zooey Deschanel -- somehow manages to float ethereally above it all with her dignity intact. Will hit the videostores soon enough.

With:
Daniel Collins - Hank Azaria Ryan Carmichael - Jesse Bradford Kate Collins - Zooey Deschanel Samantha - Glenne Headly Judy - Famke Janssen Charlotte "Grandma" Collins - Piper Laurie Lucy Collins - Kelly Preston Skip Collins - Ray Romano Edmund "Grandpa" Collins - Rip Torn Alice Collins - Debra Winger Fred Collins - Curtis Garcia Ted Collins - Keith Garcia Parson - Rene Auberjonois

“Eulogy” is an excruciating entry in the dysfunctional family field, a genre so strip-mined it ought to be retired until further notice. Nine very good actors are wasted, if not embarrassed, by the thoroughly unconvincing shenanigans perpetrated by first-time writer-director Michael Clancy, while a tenth — Zooey Deschanel — somehow manages to float ethereally above it all with her dignity intact. With withering reviews and word-of-mouth awaiting, Lions Gate shouldn’t pin much hope on theatrical returns for this one, which will hit the videostores soon enough.

Gathered in Rhode Island to bury the family patriarch (Rip Torn), members of the Collins clan are at each other’s throats in no time. Emphasizing what he imagines to be hilarious sexual practices and attitudes, Clancy makes son Daniel (Hank Azaria) a secret porn actor and daughter Lucy (Kelly Preston) a lesbian. Latter totes along her lover Judy (Famke Janssen) to the outrage of Lucy’s aggressively neurotic sister Alice (Debra Winger), whose hysterical overreaction to the pair’s marriage plans ought to tell everyone something.

Rounding out the delightful crowd are dim brother Skip (Ray Romano), whose unfailingly rude twin sons offer caustic commentary on their elders’ infantile predilections; matriarchal widow Charlotte (Piper Laurie), who becomes so justifiably distraught at the inanity of her children she tries to commit suicide; and Kate (Deschanel), a confused but comely college freshman who juggles preparation of the eulogy with internal debate over what to do with her childhood friend-turned-suitor, Ryan (Jesse Bradford).

Virtually every incident in the script feels more artificial than the last, contrived in a misguided effort to produce surprise. Taking the cake in this regard is one of the silliest and most embarrassing scenes on record, in which the hitherto virulently homophobic Alice is caught in the act in a car with accommodating nurse Samantha (Glenne Headly). Both thesps can only hope this goes as unnoticed as possible.

When Grandpa delivers an unwelcome surprise from the grave via videotape to the eager crowd at the reading of the will, one can only feel they got what they deserved. The videotape also suggests the premise for a comedy that could have been quite funny — unlike this one.

Clancy’s direction is very clumsy strictly from a staging and editing p.o.v., and tech contributions are unimpressive. Capping everything off is an insufferably corny score.

Eulogy

Production: A Lions Gate Films release of an Artisan Entertainment and Myriad Pictures presentation, in association with Ovation Entertainment, S.R.O. Entertainment, AG and Equity Pictures Medienfonds GmbH & Co. KG of a Haft Entertainment and Myriad Pictures production. Produced by Steven Haft, Richard B. Lewis, Kirk D'Amico. Executive producers, Lucas Foster, Kendall Morgan, Bo Hyde, Rory Rosegarten, Jonas McCord, Shelly Glasser. Co-producers, Stefan Jonas, Jeanne Van Cott. Directed, written by Michael Clancy.

Crew: Camera (Deluxe color), Michael Chapman; editor, Richard Halsey; music, Richard Marvin; music supervisor, Chris Violette; production designer, Dina Lipton; art director, Marc Dabe; set decorator, Ryan Welsch; costume designer, Tracy Tynan; sound (Dolby Digital), Walter Martin; associate producers, Andreas Theismeyer, Gerd Koechlin; assistant director, Linda Bruchman; casting, Nancy Nayor, Patricia Kerrigan. Reviewed at Wilshire screening room, Beverly Hills, Jan. 13, 2004. (In Sundance Film Festival -- Premieres.) MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 91 MIN.

With: Daniel Collins - Hank Azaria Ryan Carmichael - Jesse Bradford Kate Collins - Zooey Deschanel Samantha - Glenne Headly Judy - Famke Janssen Charlotte "Grandma" Collins - Piper Laurie Lucy Collins - Kelly Preston Skip Collins - Ray Romano Edmund "Grandpa" Collins - Rip Torn Alice Collins - Debra Winger Fred Collins - Curtis Garcia Ted Collins - Keith Garcia Parson - Rene Auberjonois

More Film

  • UGC Distribution Closes on Mariano Cohn’s

    Ventana Sur: UGC Distribution Closes Market Hit ‘4 x 4’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — UGC Distribution has beaten out all other suitors to clinch what had became by Friday morning the most anticipated deal of this year’s Ventana Sur market: All rights to France on Argentine Mariano Cohn’s “4 x 4,” sold by Latido Films and distributed throughout Argentina by Disney. After mounting speculation about which [...]

  • Aquaman 2018

    Film News Roundup: 'Aquaman' Hits $152 Million at International Box Office

    In today’s film news roundup, “Aquaman” has already grossed more than $150 million outside the U.S., Michael Masini joins “Birds of Prey,” and Freestyle buys the documentary “Shamanic Trekker.” BOX OFFICE More Reviews Tallinn Film Review: 'Winter's Night' TV Review: 'Vanity Fair' Warner Bros.’ tentpole “Aquaman” has taken in $152 million overseas in 36 markets, [...]

  • 'Winter's Night' Review: Enigmatic, Offbeat Korean

    Tallinn Film Review: 'Winter's Night'

    There are thousands of films about love’s beginning, and a great many about love’s end. But far fewer deal with a relationship’s late-middle: the spreading, sluggish delta of coupledom when decades of familiarity, if they have not bred contempt, at least threaten irritation. “Winter’s Night,” Jang Woo-jin’s playfully melancholic third feature, after the acclaimed “A [...]

  • Tomasz Kot UTA

    UTA Signs ‘Cold War’ Star Tomasz Kot (EXCLUSIVE)

    UTA has signed “Cold War” star Tomasz Kot. He has appeared in more than 30 films and 26 plays as well as dozens of television series. More Reviews Tallinn Film Review: 'Winter's Night' TV Review: 'Vanity Fair' Most recently, Kot has received award-season buzz for his starring role as Wiktor in Pawel Pawlikowski’s feature “Cold [...]

  • Kenneth Branagh's 'All Is True' Opening

    Kenneth Branagh's 'All Is True' Opening Palm Springs Film Festival

    The 30th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival will open on Jan. 3 with historical drama “All Is True,” starring Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, and Ian McKellen. Branagh, who will be in attendance at the opening night screening, directed from Ben Elton’s script about the little-known period in the final years of William Shakespeare. Branagh [...]

  • Actor and Activist Rodney Kageyama Dies

    Actor and Activist Rodney Kageyama Dies at 77

    Actor, activist and influentials member of the Japanese American community, Rodney Kageyama, died in his sleep Dec. 9. He was 77. The SAG member was known for roles in “Karate Kid IV” with Hillary Swank, Ron Howard’s film “Gung Ho” and the spinoff sitcom, and the TV movie “Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes” with Max [...]

  • Most Popular Films 2018: The Best

    9 Holiday Gift Ideas Inspired by This Year's Most Popular Films

    From superheroes to super nannies, 2018 was a year full of memorable characters — and memorable movies. Whether you’re a big film buff, an avid follower of a popular franchise, or have a couple movie fans in your life, here are nine gifts that capture the fun of some of this year’s biggest films. 1. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content