The critics' reactions to this family drama vary between somewhat lukewarm to downright "bah humbug." But you don't have to take our word for it. Read the reviews below, and then let us know what you think. Just in time for the holidays comes 'Everybody's Fine,' starring Robert De Niro as Frank Goode, a gruff, out-of-touch retired telephone wire factory worker and widower who decides to go off on a cross-country trek and make a surprise visit to his far-flung kids (played by Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, and Sam Rockwell). Kirk Jones ('Waking Ned Devine') wrote and directed the film, which is a remake of the Italian 'Stanno Tutti Bene' by Giuseppe Tornatore.
The critics' reactions to this family drama vary between somewhat lukewarm to downright "bah humbug." But you don't have to take our word for it. Read the reviews below, and then let us know what you think.
The Miami Herald: "In rewriting the original Italian screenplay Jones has wisely injected droll moments, which give the proceedings a more lived-in, less artificial atmosphere. And a scene of reconciliation effectively tugs at the heartstrings. But you can't shake the feeling that 'Everybody's Fine' is based on a phony premise made tolerable only by the efforts of a strong cast."
Chicago Tribune: "'Everybody's Fine' may be as calculated a commercial product as the 'Meet the Parents'/'Meet the Fockers' comedies (No. 3 to come next year), in which De Niro's comic skills were stretched into cartoon broadness. But this Americanized remake of Giuseppe Tornatore's 1990 'Stanno Tutti Bene' is gracefully acted by a very good cast headed by De Niro, relaxing into a comfortable pair of shoes originally worn by Marcello Mastroianni."
Entertainment Weekly: " ... although Frank's not supposed to be a very sophisticated man, it requires saintly moviegoing patience I clearly don't have to put up with his level of unworldliness ... in this calculatedly soppy, seasonally phony Americanized remake of Giuseppe Tornatore's 1990 'Stanno Tutti Bene' -- which was bittersweet in the Italian original with Marcello Mastroianni as the poignant papa. ... The sight of the world-famous Robert De Niro, a powerful actor revered for playing tough guys who can smash Samsonite with their bare hands, pretending not to know how to pull a handle is so embarrassing that the ick ought to obscure the rest of the movie's falsehoods."
New York Observer: "...it takes an entire movie before they stage a contrived family reunion better suited to a glorified TV 'Hallmark Hall of Fame' Christmas special. Still, Mr. De Niro is convincing and humane as a simple man who wants to be a good father but doesn't know how. He's not mean, selfish, demanding or judgmental. He just wants his kids to confide in him, without realizing he's never been easy to talk to. He's an accomplished actor who has been sleepwalking through films for such a long time that we've forgotten how to take him seriously, and it's a pleasure to see him feeling his way through a role again, moment by moment. His scenes with Drew Barrymore have exceptional sincerity. Everyone works well under the perfunctory direction of Kirk Jones, but even with an easily resolved fade-out replete with turkey and cranberry sauce, 'Everybody's Fine' has the look and taste of leftovers."
Film Journal: "Though dramatically a bit thin, 'Everybody's Fine' does offer its pleasures. De Niro in vulnerable mode is an unexpected sight, and he's surprisingly convincing as a man way past his prime and out of his element as he attempts a cross-country journey (oddly enough, almost entirely filmed in Connecticut). It's also a treat to watch this modern movie icon interact with the three talented actors playing his siblings."
Variety: "Though a bit too artful to merit the pejorative 'tearjerker' label, the film is rigorously streamlined to deliver a good emotional uppercut by the end, and purely on the strength of its craft, it connects. But asside from an atypically mannered Robert De Niro, there's very little new to see along the way."
Village Voice: "Don't be misled by the cheesy, generic poster for Kirk Jones's 'Everybody's Fine,' in which a grinning Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, and Kate Beckinsale pose with Robert De Niro (airbrushed almost to the point of unrecognizable) for their characters' family photo in front of a Christmas tree. It's a marketing department's feeble feint: The four actors appear onscreen together for only a handful of minutes late in the movie -- and it's no more a Christmas movie than 'Yentl'."