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'Family' offers some comedy, many Douglases

'It Runs in the Family' -- PG-13

"It Runs in the Family" is a meandering film that will leave audiences wondering, "Yes, that was interesting, but why?"

Directed by Fred Schepisi, the movie is well made. The acting is fairly decent and there is some amusing dialogue. But it is a pointless film.

The story follows the life of Alex Gromberg (Michael Douglas), a successful New York lawyer who lives with his wife Rebecca (Bernadette Peters), and sons Asher (Cameron Douglas) and Eli (Rory Culkin). After his mother Evelyn (Diane Douglas) passes away suddenly, Alex is forced to care for his aging father Mitchell (Kirk Douglas), who helps him realize just how dysfunctional his family has become.

Whoa! If you wanted to be in this film, you had to be a Douglas. Perhaps they figured strength in numbers could overcome the lack of plot. Oh well. The acting is believable enough, although viewers will quickly grow tired of Cameron's posturing and nonchalance as he looks for people to sell drugs to or to sleep with.

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Most audience members will prefer to follow the story of young Eli, who manages to fall for the girl all the bad guys want, complete with black lipstick and a nose ring. (Eli's objection to this: "It's in her nose.") Well, duh. Which brings this review to the film's saving grace: comedic timing. The parents' pathetic attempts to connect with their children often produces amusing results, the best of which would not be appropriate to recount here.

Perhaps the movie's best moment, however, is ex-seaman uncle Albert's naval burial, which consists of dousing the corpse's row boat with gasoline and setting it ablaze in the middle of a lake. (Alex: He was the ship's cook, not a Viking!")

This movie is only worth seeing if there is nothing better out there (which, sadly, there wasn't this weekend). Two-and-a-half out of five stars.

Loren Thomas is a junior at Century High School. To respond to reviews in Sound &; Vision, call 252-1111, category TEEN (8336); write Teen Beat, Post-Bulletin, P.O. Box 6118, Rochester, MN 55903-6118 or send e-mail to teenbeat@postbulletin.com.

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