Good thing the movie is pretty darned good. Hey, it's not perfect or anything and it appears to have hacked off a few of the folks in its target audience (but buck up, folks, Prop 8 is toast now)! Hey, nobody's perfect, as anybody who has ever even GLANCED at this site can attest. Like the title says, the Kids are ALL RIGHT... the adults aren't even quite up to that par.
The kids in question are Joni (played by cute Mia Wasikowska) and her younger brother with the incredibly cool name of Laser (Josh Hutcherson). The duo happen to be the offspring of a lesbian couple, including Nic (Annette Benning and Jules (Julianne Moore). It looks like they've got it all, man! A cool suburban two story house, a loving relationship, two great kids and they even pass their time watching gay male porn to excite them for some Lesbian Sex!
Hmmm... no, that's not a typo. I was a little... nay, a lot... surprised myself. Lesbians and gay male porn... Huh. But to each her own.
Maybe that's why the sex portrayed is so clothed and... "married". I don't know. I'm just glad we didn't have to see the fireman meet the gardener when the skies started raining baby oil and all that. But I digress.
Naturally, those all right kids don't know any of that, nor do they have any idea how their moms have started to grate on each other after this long of a marriage.
What they also don't know is who their biological father might be. Yep, it's the same guy for both of them with Joni having gestated in Dr. Nic three years before Laser gestated in landscaping Jules. The thing is, though, Joni could care less who Captain Donor Man is, though it's the prime thing on Laser's mind. Still, since Joni's old enough (at 18) to find out from he yank bank who home-dude is, she gives in to the brother she loves so much and soon a Los Angeles Cell Phone is ringing in a hairy, dust-crusted hand.
And it's Paul (Mark Ruffalo) who answers. You see, Paul's not the educated mensa master that Nic and Jules seem to have thought he was on paper. He never even finished college, but hey, he's doing pretty well for himself as an organic farmer and owner of his own bohemian-yet-classy restaurant! What do you want from the guy? He's also having not-so-muted, clothed or married sex with his incredibly hot coworker Tanya (Yaya DaCosta, whom we see naked)! So, yeah, he's doing pretty well for himself, I daresay! WOW! Yaya!
I'm digressing again, aren't I?
The real question begins with whether Paul will overwhelm or underwhelm his thus-far-unknown offspring and just how much of a life-changer this might be for them. When the discovery of Paul goes from being a secret the two kids share to a family shocker, that's when things start to shake up a lot. Will we have family lunches at Chez Nic and Jules, dinners at Paul's, play dates with the growing kids, landscaping jobs in Paul's back yard, complete family upheaval, alien invasions, ninja sword fights, couch surfing, zombie plagues, train robberies, alcohol binges, palace intrigue? All of these things? None of these things?
Well, the truth is that the surprises sort of slow down after the first half to the point that The Kids are All Right becomes just a bit predictable. Maybe it's because I've watched Opie Gets Laid WAY too many times (if that's possible), but I found it hard not to know just exactly was around the bend for the quintet of quirkiness. Director Lisa Cholodenko (who wrote the screenplay with Stuart Blumberg) certainly seems to want to present these things as surprises, but by the time a lot of these roll around it's like watching a magician whose tricks have been figured out pulling rabbit after rabbit out of his hat or a stand-up comic run through a set before an audience who already knows the punchlines.
Still, The Kids are All Right doesn't have to rely on surprises to be good. The acting is of high quality whether this dramedy is showing its dramatic or comical sides. Julianne Moore in particular is incredible and manages to stand out even though the cast around her shines brightly. Only Mia Wasikowska manages to re-steal the spotlight when she takes the screen. The rest of the cast (which also includes Eddie Hassell, Kunal Sharma, Zosia Mamet, Rebecca Lawrence and Joaquín Garrido) all form a high-quality ensemble to support Benning, Moore and family with aplomb.
Best of all, Benning and Moore truly feel like a married couple. Both actresses are truly believable as a pair who have been together for decades. The subtle digs, the loving moments, the laughs, the tears, the whole shebang never really feels like "Acting". They feel like a real couple you might be having a friendly dinner with this weekend.
Further, the writing and directing are both quite good. It's only when Cholodenko goes for a big reveal that we see coming that the plot seems a little obvious. When the story is allowed to progress and tell itself The Kids are All Right is at its best... and it's far more than just "All Right"!
That story, not to mention the way its told, is what makes The Kids are All Right worth seeing and truly enjoying. This, coupled with the cool dialogue and very natural delivery of the cast is what earns this film Four Stars out of Five! Check it out, folks! You won't be slinging Organic Tomatoes at the screen for this one! So until Stu-babe Blumberg and Lisa-Lisa collaborate on a sequel that adapts The Who's Entwistle-penned song "My Wife" (if you know the lyrics, you'll see what I mean), I'll be seeing all of you folks in the next really real reel!
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