are the Griswolds when you need them? It
is the season for sentimentality and Edward Burns intends to indulge. He returns to Long Island for a big Irish family
get together in The Fitzgerald Family
opens tomorrow in New York.
mother’s birthday is two days before Christmas, but aside from Gerry, her
favorite, none of the grown Fitzgerald children want to come home to
celebrate. Grown might be too strong a
word. Let’s say they are over
twenty-one. Gerry is the professional
martyr who still lives at home. He has
four sisters whose names are impossible to keep straight. It is easier to just number them in
accordance with how annoying they are, number four being the most insufferable. He also has two brothers, one of whom would
have been forgotten were it not for a handy set of press notes.
is still a Fitzgerald father out there, but he is dead to Rosie Fitzgerald
after he walked out on her when the brood was still quite young. Unfortunately, Jim Fitzgerald will be dead to
everyone soon. His final wish is to
spend his last Christmas with the family.
Gerry tries pleading his case, but his mother and assorted siblings
remain steadfastly opposed.
other family dramas crop up, including Sister #1’s pregnancy with her abusive
husband. Brother Quinn and Sister #4 are
pursuing significantly younger and older romantic partners, respectively, while
Sister #3 sent her husband packing in favor of their landscaper. Sister #2 actually has a presentable husband
and young baby, but she is still absolutely miserable to be around. Meanwhile, completely forgettable Brother
Cyril just got out of rehab. Right, good
luck with that.
with the Fitzgeralds will make viewers convert to Buddhism. The only appealing scenes involve Brother
Gerry’s awkward courtship of Nora Daugherty, the nurse of a longtime family
friend. It is nice to see realistically
flawed, everyday looking (slightly worn even) people develop a down-to-earth
relationship. Reuniting from The Brothers McMullen, Burns and Connie
Britton display real romantic chemistry together. He helms these sequences with a sensitive
touch the rest of the middling family chaos lacks.
Granted, it should also be noted Ed Lauter might
just give a career performance as the remorseful absentee father. In fact, there are several very nice supporting
turns peppered throughout this overstuffed holiday feast of subplots, each of
which is neatly resolved, lest they spoil the turkey. While not an outright affront to cinema, The Fitzgerald Family Christmas is
unlikely to become anyone’s holiday tradition.
More liable to test viewers’ patience, it opens tomorrow (12/7) in New
York at the Village East.
Labels: Edward Burns, Family drama, Long Island films