A too funny family
Review of The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) movie, by Stefan Stenudd
This is one odd family. All the kids are prodigies, becoming messed up adults. Sure, the father abandoned them, and the mother seems a bit too orderly - but still, I see no clue either to the genius of the kids or to their adult misery.
The film is a pile of jokes and absurdities, and that's fine with me. Like a Marx brothers thing. But the Marx never pretended to have a plot worth contemplating, whereas the Tenenbaum story does. It doesn't compute. Every new information we receive about anyone of the characters - and there's plenty of it - just raises new questions. Why? How?
Although there is a lot of fun going on, right to the end, the shortcomings in the plot and the lack of penetration into what drives the characters, sort of makes the film evaporate at the very moment it ends, leaving no lasting aftertaste.
The Tenenbaums should have been a bit less funny, to give room for their characters to take form - or even more funny, never once leaving the absurd.
22 January 2003
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I'm a Swedish author
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