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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > The Thing About My Folks

MOVIE REVIEWS

THE THING ABOUT MY FOLKS (2005)

Starring Peter Falk, Paul Reiser, Olympia Dukakis, Elizabeth Perkins, Mackenzie Connelly, Lydia Jordan, Ann Dowd, Claire Beckman, Mimi Lieber, Bernie McInerney, Catherine Taormina, Rich Duva, Marshall Efron, Dennis Sheehan, Lauren Bittner, Alison Fraser, Timothy Hsu, Michael Duvert, Adam Mucci, Craig Pattison, Tonye Patano and Kevin Cahoon.

Screenplay by Paul Reiser.

Directed by Raymond DeFeitta.

Distributed by Picturehouse Films. 96 minutes.  Rated PG-13.

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The Thing About My Folks

Peter Falk is such a likable actor, such a force of nature, such a seasoned pro that this movie would be worth watching if for no other reason than the fact that it gives the actor in his late 70s his meatiest role in years. 

Luckily, the movie is worth watching for several other reasons, though none of them will or could ever trump Falk's presence.  Falk is the best part of a good movie, the glue that bonds it all together and keeps the little cracks from showing.

The Thing About My Folks is certainly not an overly original idea; a middle-aged New York writer (Paul Reiser) who was never too close to his workaholic father (Falk) rediscovers their bond when his mother (Olympia Dukakis) decides she wants to separate.  This leads to a road trip in which the men gets to know each other and remember their link by sharing little adventures. 

Writer/star Paul Reiser generously gives Falk's character many of the best jokes, recognizing he is playing with a legend and giving him lots of space to shine.  Reiser has never quite been able to translate his television fame into a big screen career -- though he has been a part of some very good films like Diner, Aliens and Bye Bye Love, the underrated attempt at a star-making vehicle that came at the height of his Mad About You notoriety.  However, this film suggests a new direction for him, he makes a nicely frustrated straight man.  Reiser's slow burn anger and occasional explosions are made all the more interesting because they play off of Falk's larger-than-life outbursts.  

What they do in the long run is not too exciting; they fish, buy a classic car, go to a minor-league ball game, get into a bar fight, meet and flirt with a couple of younger women, look at a farmhouse and look at the stars.  However, these little life moments seem very realistic and embrace a shared history and mutual respect and resentment of a lifetime of missed opportunities.  It is interesting to watch them rediscover each other, and to realize that many of their presumptions about the other had been wrong. 

There is a strong supporting cast here, though they do not get that incredibly much to do; this story is really all about the two leads.  However Elizabeth Perkins is very likable as Reiser's supportive and intuitive wife.  Dukakis does not show up until late in the film, but she reminds us why she became such a phenomenon in Moonstruck back in 1988 and makes you wonder why she does not work more. 

Though it starts to get overly sentimental towards the end, the movie has already won us over by that point.  The Thing About My Folks is a nice little story told very well.  (9/05)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2005   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved. Posted: September 12, 2005.

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Copyright 2005   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved. Posted: September 12, 2005.