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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 6.38%
Just Average: 12.77%
Pretty Crappy: 29.79%
Sucks: 19.15%

5 reviews, 17 user ratings

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Keeping Up with the Steins
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by Doug Bentin

"It’s got coming-soon-to-cable written all over it."
3 stars

There’s a good chance that you will enjoy “Keeping Up With the Steins,” but you still may walk away from it feeling a little cheated. See, unless you sneak into the auditorium where it’s screening, you’ll have to pay to see it and if ever a theatrical release picture looked like it should premiere on basic cable, this is it.

As the story opens Benjamin Fiedler is rapidly approaching his 13th birthday, and that means his bar mitzvah. He’s just suffered through that of one of his pals, whose dad (Larry Miller) shelled out $500,000 for a party on a cruise ship.

Now Benjamin’s father Adam (Jeremy Piven) feels compelled to outdo Arnie Stein’s pomp and circumcision, but Ben (Daryl Sabara, the “Spy Kids” trilogy) is a little shaky about the whole thing. In an attempt to get his bar mitzvah called off, he invites his grandfather and asks him to arrive two weeks early.

Grandpa Irwin (Garry Marshall, director of “Pretty Woman” and “Runaway Bride”) and Adam, the son he deserted years ago, haven’t gotten along in decades. Even Irwin’s wife Rose (Doris Roberts, “Everybody Loves Raymond”) has sort-of forgiven him, but Adam is still carrying the anger.

Irwin shows up with his much younger partner Sandy (Daryl Hannah) in his rickety pickup and camper, not an endearing mode of transportation in upscale Brentwood.

From the title and opening scenes, the movie begins as a satire on the pretensions of first-generation wealth, but that part of the plot quickly moves to the back seat when Irwin arrives and we see that director Scott Marshall (Garry’s son) and screenwriter Mark Zakarin really want to demonstrate the importance of the forgiveness of, maybe not actual sin, but self-centeredness.

Everyone in the story—and sometimes Marshall and Zakarin don’t seen to realize this—wants to satisfy a personal need. Irwin wants to be accepted by his son and his family; Adam wants Irwin to go away; Benjamin wants to make the bar mitzvah go away. Even Ben’s mother Joanne (Jami Gertz) will compromise to bring about peace, and their Rabbi (Richard Benjamin) has to be shamed into doing his job and not being concerned exclusively with the sale of his new book. There are no bad guys in this warm little comedy, but Adam bears the brunt of our disapproval because he is the most visibly angry.

The movie contains no huge guffaws, but goes for them so infrequently you know that its mind is on the warm chuckle and not the raucous belly laugh. Spending 90 minutes with people you know, or know you could live with if you did know them, is pleasant for a change. The cast is as comfortable as the characters. Nudity is one of the reasons given for the picture’s PG-13 rating, but that is just a couple of shots of Garry Marshall’s naked butt. Hmmm . . Marshall’s here and Terry Bradshaw’s earlier this year. Maybe a career for me in the movies isn’t impossible after all.

“Keeping Up With the Steins” isn’t great, but it is pleasant. There’s nothing in it, though, that makes it a must-see. Wait for its debut on TV. It won’t take long.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11603&reviewer=405
originally posted: 06/19/06 13:41:09
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. For more in the 2005 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival series, click here.

User Comments

12/16/06 David B Snider and Cornelius are clueless, I loved this movie 5 stars
6/10/06 Pat Lamb Much of the Cleveland audience looked like the extras in the film 5 stars
5/30/06 mark meyers Good comedy acting and lots of laughs 5 stars
5/30/06 Tim Funny at limes 4 stars
5/27/06 Jeff Anderson Better than expected, funny & surprisingly sweet. Piven & Gertz are an absolute delight 4 stars
5/21/06 Mase Light Hearted love letter to director Scott Marshals father Gary, if you like him enjoy! 4 stars
5/21/06 Maureen An embarrassment. I left early. 1 stars
5/12/06 Howard Horrible movie. A good idea was turned into something that is an embarassment. 1 stars
5/12/06 Randy L. To have such a good cast and have such bad dialogue, and comedy is sad. 1 stars
12/11/05 Shelly Gross Excellent 5 stars
6/22/05 Jake Malone Great Cast, Well Done, Fantastic 5 stars
2/27/05 Gina Deutsch Funny, touching and true 5 stars
2/24/05 Alex Levin Fantastic! I loved it. 5 stars
2/20/05 Mary Sanders Very Good! Very Funny! 5 stars
2/15/05 Robert Forester I walked out. Kind of boring. 2 stars
2/14/05 Dan Jacobs Funny, Cute, Charming and enjoyable. 5 stars
2/13/05 Alex Thompson Ugly nepotism rears its head. Totally lame. 2 stars
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  12-May-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 31-Oct-2006



Directed by
  Scott Marshall

Written by
  Mark Zakarin

  Jami Gertz
  Daryl Hannah
  Garry Marshall
  Jeremy Piven
  Doris Roberts
  Cheryl Hines

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