Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
4.16

Awesome57.89%
Worth A Look: 22.49%
Just Average: 7.18%
Pretty Crappy: 2.87%
Sucks: 9.57%

14 reviews, 125 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Bad Genius by Jay Seaver

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets by Jay Seaver

Cold Hell by Jay Seaver

House of the Disappeared by Jay Seaver

Lady Macbeth by alejandroariera

Lady Macbeth by Peter Sobczynski

Poor Agnes by Jay Seaver

Sequence Break by Jay Seaver

Have a Nice Day by Jay Seaver

Liberation Day by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


Royal Tenenbaums, The
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Scott Weinberg

"Once again, Anderson turns a sitcom story into a cinematic work of art."
5 stars

If you were worried that director Wes Anderson had exhausted his supply of quirky and bizarrely endearing characters in his two previous films, Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, just relax. Anderson’s latest effort not only outdoes the absurdly humanistic silliness of those two films, but he’s also managed to produce his finest movie yet. Quite simply, The Royal Tenenbaums is a work of visual and comedic art, and it’s unlikely that any of Anderson’s fans will fail to fall in love with this family.

Boasting an exemplary ensemble cast and a master’s visual stroke, The Royal Tenenbaums is more than Anderson’s finest movie yet; it’s easily one of this year’s best (and most entertaining) films. Few filmmakers have the ability to deliver dark (or questionable) humor with such confidence, and Anderson (along with co-writer and star Owen Wilson) presents the Tenenbaums in a beautifully flawed fashion.

Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) has never been a good father, though he must have some damn fine DNA, as he has sired three staggeringly intelligent prodigies. (OK, one’s adopted…) His long-suffering wife Etheline (Angelica Huston) governs the children and their academic pursuits with a zealot’s fervor, which is no easy task given their varied interests. Chas (Ben Stiller) is a financial genius that had earned thousands before his 14th birthday, Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow) is a renowned poet and artist, and Richie (Luke Wilson) proves to be one of the finest tennis players in the world.

Unfortunately, Royal and Ethel’s marriage is unsalvageable. Royal is a demanding, unemotional ghost of a father, and he deserts the family while the children are still young. After 20 years, Royal learns of his dire medical situation, and he promptly sets out to insinuate himself back into the lives of his estranged wife and irritated children. To say that Royal is met with less than open arms would be pure understatement, as the family has fallen on particularly hard times.

Ethel is being courted by family attorney Henry Sherman (Danny Glover). Margot is trapped in a loveless marriage with goofy author Raleigh St. Clair (Bill Murray). Chas, along his young sons Ari and Uzi, is mourning the death of his young wife. Richie has long since disgraced himself on the tennis courts and now roams the oceans on a rickety cruise ship. Even neighborhood pal Eli Cash (Owen Wilson) has soared into fame as a novelist before crashing back to Earth in a drug-riddled haze.

If the above descriptions sound like questionable material for a farce, you may not be familiar with the talents of Wes Anderson. As in his earlier films, Anderson portrays his characters with a refreshing lack of apology, and much of the humor comes from dry wit, sarcasm and an acidic sense of irony. As this “Family of Geniuses” suffers through its myriad failures and disappointments, the viewer may recognize how truly insane their own family is. Despite all their fame and accomplishments, the Tenenbaums are dysfunctional to an astronomical degree. The re-emergence of their father after so many years simply whips the family’s collective angst into a sinfully uproarious affair.

The genius is in the details. Wes Anderson knows this and fills The Royal Tenenbaums with an overflowing array of quirky and memorable characters, stunningly colorful sets and locations, and the unwavering insistence to ground his film in the “tragically absurd”…or is that “absurdly tragic”? Rare is the movie that can combine so many varieties of humor and have it succeed so brilliantly. The Royal Tenenbaums is equal parts smart, silly, sardonic and sweet. It’s a scathing dark comedy, a twisted sitcom, an arcane farce and even a touching romance.

Given the wit and intelligence of Anderson’s earlier films, it’s not at all surprising to find loads of A-list Hollywood talents clamoring to appear in his projects, and The Royal Tenenbaums presents one of the best ensembles in years. Gene Hackman is simply flawless as the despicable-yet-still-loveable Royal Tenenbaum. Astute moviegoers can often tell when an actor is having FUN with a role, and Hackman’s slyly vulgar portrayal is nothing short of addicting. (He could easily carry home an Oscar for his work here.) Faring just as strongly is the always-reliable Angelica Huston as the beleaguered matriarch while Danny Glover delivers a wonderfully sweet performance as her golden years suitor.

Gwyneth Paltrow is flawless as the heartbreakingly vulnerable Margot. With her pale visage and haunted eyes, Paltrow offers yet another stunning (and stunningly different) portrayal to her impressive resume. (Paltrow is so honest and touching as Margot that I suspect she’ll become the new poster child for disaffected teenage girls the world over.) Ben Stiller is enjoyably unforgiving as the spoiled Chas, and he displays some previously unseen acting chops late in the film. As Richie, Luke Wilson simply delivers his best performance ever, and his brother Owen is joyously goofy as the mescaline-addicted Eli. In smaller roles, Bill Murray and Seymour Cassel are note-perfect while young actors Grant Rosenmeyer and Jonah Meyerson portray Ari and Uzi Tenenbaum delightfully. (The narration by Alec Baldwin is a character in itself, and it’s the best work Baldwin’s done in years.)

There’s a lot of truth to be found hidden amongst the bizarre proceedings, and one of Anderson’s messages seems clear: Everyone sees their own family as flawed, distasteful, embarrassing and strange as the Tenenbaums clearly are. As the poster cleverly states “Family isn’t a word. It’s a sentence.” For anyone who’s ever felt that his or her family was the worst on the planet, this brilliant comedy will make you feel a lot better.

For those weary of the sitcom style of comedy filmmaking so prevalent these days, The Royal Tenenbaums will be nothing short of a revelation. Nearly every frame is askew in one way or another, the humor is often harsh but never ugly or mean-spirited, the interior sets are works of a cluttered post-modern genius, and (again) the beauty is in the details. The Tenenbaum’s “game closet” is a wonderfully familiar setting; Margot’s hidden smoking habit is a brilliant running gag, and keep an eye out for those Dalmatian Mice.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=5670&reviewer=128
originally posted: 12/14/01 01:17:40
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

3/04/15 stanley welles an awesome adult comedy - immaculately written and brilliantly performed 5 stars
3/29/14 PAUL SHORTT QUIRKY, CLEVER COMEDY 3 stars
7/07/09 *Holy_J@lapeno* A wonderful dark humor movie. Favorite part "Look at that old grizzley bear" 4 stars
7/04/09 Gristle So fucking empty and utterly boring 1 stars
11/10/08 Brian I'm addicted to this movie. One of the best comedies ever. Hilarious and beautiful. 5 stars
9/02/07 Quigley Well-scripted, well-acted and visually inventive comedy. Hackman should have won an Oscar. 5 stars
2/05/07 nmedina Ive seen it over 100 times and have decide like Eli Cash to be a Tenenbaum. 5 stars
1/08/07 Drew Galletti Extremely well done, though I need to revisit still 3 stars
1/08/07 Tulip O'Hare Completely don't get why this is supposed to be good. I just found it slow and snarky. 2 stars
11/02/06 Bitchflaps I hated Rushmore, but this is excellent. 4 stars
10/12/06 The Hugh Hilarious and Tragic 5 stars
8/11/06 M. Mirliss According to EFC, my film criticism skills are worse than Kelly Palma's...suicide time. 5 stars
4/05/06 Wholy Crapman Wacky, yet believable and lovable characters. Just what Anderson does best 5 stars
3/18/06 MP Bartley Hackman is terrific, but Anderson (as ever) keeps us too distant from the characters. 4 stars
1/08/06 sdg sdg boring 1 stars
7/30/05 yuko hilarious, adorable and a little bit of sadness 5 stars
6/13/05 E-FUNK A Beautiful, hilarious, heart-felt film. I didn't think he could top Rushmore, I was wrong. 5 stars
6/07/05 John Aster Habig a movie that looks at the true meaning of family and love 5 stars
5/25/05 Jake Not as good as Rushmore but still very good 4 stars
5/12/05 mitch Kelly Palma can't handle "reel" comedy 5 stars
1/15/05 Abbath Nice, quirky comedy/drama. Well written with great characters. 5 stars
12/29/04 DM Funny, unique and strangely poignant. 4 stars
11/08/04 Chris McElheney the best movie ive ever seen! i love it. 5 stars
10/31/04 erika my name is erika tenenbaum which is preety fnny i thought the movie was just awsome 5 stars
9/12/04 R.W. Welch Has a certain style but mostly played too slow and low key. 3 stars
8/04/04 Stefan Good comedy thats very funny but gladly doesn't laugh at its self if u know what i mean 4 stars
7/29/04 Josh Standlee So sh*tty, it made Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Bill Murray look bad! 1 stars
7/11/04 Recurring Dream i was very entertained and amused by those great little touches in the background. 4 stars
7/05/04 Erin Great!!! 5 stars
7/01/04 Daveman Gracefully crafted and shot with wonderfully subtle dark humor. 4 stars
6/27/04 Bobby da Squid Wonderful cast, NYC-but-not-NYC, amazing rich, detailed visuals - one of my favs 5 stars
4/25/04 Lord Jiggy A slow build...earns your laughter, respect, and affection. Worth full price. 5 stars
3/26/04 Melissa Gaugert If you like Ben Stiller comedy, you'll love it, like I did! Wacky!! 4 stars
3/24/04 Margie i don't think i got it, cuz i was more creeped out than anything... and i didn't laugh :-( 2 stars
3/16/04 Holly Beeman What can I say? Wes Anderson is the man. Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, etc.! 5 stars
3/08/04 Wendranh didn't feel any connection to the characters at all 2 stars
2/25/04 Sean What comedy should aspire to be. One of the best. 5 stars
2/06/04 charlie ace 5 stars
1/29/04 Jack Bourbon Garp-guy wannabes. 3 stars
1/27/04 Tom Brilliant, a rare gem 5 stars
1/26/04 lonesome_whistle A funny, quirky, touching movie 4 stars
1/26/04 Jay This movie was a waste of money and time 1 stars
6/26/03 cochese No one else said it, so I will. "The Royal Piece of Shit" 1 stars
5/12/03 scottyrobotty more funny lines than any movie in the last 10 years. perfect 5 stars
4/20/03 Skankin' inThePit Great movie/acting/directing--Anderson is a favorite along with Richard Kelly in my book 5 stars
3/23/03 Winthrop J Applesmythe III the reviewer is on crack. SEE THIS MOVIE. 5 stars
2/10/03 Alex Pérez Córdova It´s an excelent movie 5 stars
1/05/03 Karen Great movie! 5 stars
12/15/02 Jimmy Snuka This movie is as awesome as me off the top rope!!! 5 stars
12/08/02 Goofy Maxwell Bitter fruit grows on this family tree. But magnificent Anderson tells such a sweet tale. 4 stars
12/02/02 mr. Pink brilliant! Anderson fulfills his promise that he had with debut Bottle Rocket. Great! 5 stars
12/01/02 Gruther waste of time 2 stars
11/27/02 Zack W. Young A pervesely terrific cast and brilliant writing and direction make this a rare modern gem. 5 stars
11/27/02 Lady who hates romantic comedies The Wilson brothers rock - Gwyneth does not 4 stars
11/03/02 Nerf_Herder Sad, funny, bitersweet and everything in between 5 stars
10/30/02 spacecowboy I really enjoyed this. 5 stars
10/27/02 mike bernotas One thing about this guy's movies.... you can almost feel the season's 5 stars
10/26/02 MarktheShark6 The best family movie ever made. They didn't have to kill poor ol' Buckley, though. 5 stars
9/29/02 royal tenenbaum sweet 5 stars
9/28/02 Peter Sherlock I think people mistake smart-arse stuff for brilliance 1 stars
9/14/02 Monster W. Kung Competently made and acted, but not very funny at all. 3 stars
8/25/02 Roberto Donati Is Anderson the new american talent? 4 stars
8/06/02 Banky Edwards What a weird and funny movie!!! I really enjoyed it and giggled like a fool throughout! 5 stars
8/05/02 Lexy Z. Bitchin.' 5 stars
7/31/02 Christopher Inspired, wonderful, touching, funny. 5 stars
7/26/02 karen goldstein i didn't laugh once - she was in love with her brother! Yuck!!!! 1 stars
7/22/02 erick prolly fav. of the year, and def. in my top 5, watch its awesome 5 stars
7/16/02 Caiphn Just watched it again, still my favorite movie this year. 5 stars
7/14/02 The Bomb 69 I caught myself laughing at the small, minute points, if you pay attention it will delight 4 stars
7/14/02 Phil M. Aficionado Quirky, funny, and cutting edge. A truly meaningful dark comedy with ACTING 4 stars
7/11/02 Punk_Ass At first I was like WTF?? but it grew on me as the movie progressed. wierd/entertaining 4 stars
6/18/02 Oscar Smart, Funny, and full of substance 5 stars
5/26/02 PeterGibbons Art house? You frat boys are a riot. I wanna do mescaline! 5 stars
5/26/02 Nicole If you like dry humor and pay attention to the detail in the movie, you will enjoy! 4 stars
5/18/02 Chowie pretty good, owen and luke kick arse 4 stars
5/14/02 hbotis@hotmail.com nice, very nice, but not great. Huston is great 4 stars
3/26/02 dsmart American arthouse : odd, not funny, pointless 1 stars
3/23/02 Guy Forssman 0/100 there should be a law against this kind of movies 1 stars
3/18/02 Simeon Briggs Best film of the year 5 stars
3/18/02 Caiphn Worth watching. Excellent review, Collin Souter. 4 stars
3/14/02 Roy Smith Left after 20 minutes - boring and sad. People liked this? 1 stars
3/11/02 spaceworm Want to see it again. Gene's a Machine. 5 stars
3/01/02 Unagiboy The scene with the "Bikers" paintings was classic! 5 stars
2/28/02 Butterbean Hackman was incredible, this movie was entertaining. 4 stars
2/23/02 tforce academic films about neurosis are better than this 1 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Nicely entertaining. Some laughs, too. 4 stars
2/19/02 luda hoe the characters are brilliant, the script is smart, the laughs are genuine. 5 stars
2/19/02 Zach movie of the year, hands down. 5 stars
2/17/02 m i like it more each day that passes. i want to see it again, if only for the paintings. 4 stars
2/17/02 AgentDS Disturbingly entertaining 4 stars
2/16/02 Meryl K. Awesome. Stiller and Hackman are incredible. See the movie, see it right now. 5 stars
2/16/02 Phredrick Dobbs Exquisite 5 stars
2/10/02 Chelley Whom ever doesn't like this film doesn't deserve to live. 5 stars
2/10/02 Jimmy James excellent! quirky and funny 5 stars
2/10/02 Greg Jones By far the best movie of the year. 5 stars
2/05/02 Weeblerelf Intricate, beautiful!! My new favorite!! Just beautiful! 5 stars
2/01/02 dulac76 The guy who wrote this review must have seen an entirely different film than I did. 2 stars
1/28/02 arisa renewed my senses... 5 stars
1/26/02 Artist Freak This movie underwhelmed me immensely. SOme funny bits, but no point that I could see. 2 stars
1/25/02 Slitchard Richmond Insular and precious, but gloriously and sweetly so. Tender and melancholic. 5 stars
1/23/02 Paco Great emotional themes, performances and soundtrack. Far better than the overrated Rushmor 4 stars
1/21/02 The Man Best film since "American Beauty" 5 stars
1/18/02 Mister Char i just didn't see what was so terrific about it, maybe i missed something, good cast though 3 stars
1/14/02 Carly I had really high expectations. Solid, but no Rushmore. 4 stars
1/13/02 The Boy In The Designer Bubble Strange that nearly everyone in this movie has a famous relative? 1 stars
1/10/02 Robert Odd, touching, clever, but in the end, unsatisfying. Not much insight or feeling at the end 4 stars
1/07/02 wintermute Wow. 2002 is already heaps better than 2001. Bring it On! 5 stars
1/06/02 jeffrey flood wondreful wicked satire 5 stars
1/06/02 The Man Superb- great performances. A film with a style to call its own 5 stars
1/04/02 specialK no Rushmore, but had 4(?) alumni. didn't meet expectations 3 stars
1/04/02 raiven an unfunny waste of film, cast and TIME, trying SOOO hard to be eccentric and clever. 1 stars
1/04/02 rue the whirl i predict this will get better with repeated viewings 4 stars
1/04/02 John This isn't just a a movie. It's *film*. This is easily the funniest and best movie so far 5 stars
1/03/02 Superdave Excellent acting, somewhat funny, but no story and very strange, but in a bad way 3 stars
1/02/02 This movie's awsome! Y2k2 I loved this movie, actually I havn't seen it yet, but since Owen's in it, it must be good. 5 stars
1/01/02 jim-bob one hot asian masseuse in it, and one tit-shot. 3 stars
12/30/01 poetchuck An afternoon nap would have been a better use of time 1 stars
12/30/01 Thor-Leo Brilliant, perfectly pitched, almost every scene a jewel. 5 stars
12/29/01 LZ "Interesting..." 4 stars
12/28/01 Jason Fessel This movie rules. It is totally entertaining and funny. It is easy to get absorbed into ch 5 stars
12/22/01 frank i didn't think it was better than RUSHMORE, but it was close. 5 stars
12/18/01 Heather Full of dry humor and great characters, one of the year's best 5 stars
12/15/01 ajay rushmore was great, this is just as good. 5 stars
12/15/01 Emily great 5 stars
12/15/01 Boomshanka Better than Rushmore. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  14-Dec-2001 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  14-Mar-2002




Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast