"The Kids Are All Right" is just shy of being all right.
Annette Bening and Julianne Moore star as life partners Nick and Jules, living with their teenage son and daughter in suburbia (Joni is played by Mia Wasikowska and Laser is played by Josh Hutcherson). When Joni turns eighteen, her brother Laser convinces her to track down the man who donated his sperm to Nic and Jules. Enter Paul (played by Mark Ruffalo), a laid-back restaurant owner with little regard for taking life seriously. And so begins the family drama.
Once in a while, a movie comes along that portrays a supposed dysfunctional family with rose-colored glasses, witty humor and a happy ending - such as "Little Miss Sunshine" - and these movies, though deep in thought and riddled with nostalgic feelings of family values our generation has lost, simply don't impress me.
How stereotypical is it that a pair of lesbians named their children Joni (after Joni Mitchell, every lesbian's favorite recording artist, apparently) and Laser?
Is it true that lesbians watch gay man porn to get in the mood?
How do you tell which one is 'the man' and which one is 'the wife?'
Do lesbians really drink that much wine?
These questions distracted me from enjoying the movie. I know it probably wasn't intended to be a "gay movie" (such as 'Brokeback Mountain'), but rather a character analysis on the structure of the modern family. The thing is, there was too much focus on Nick and Jules that, in the end, I felt like I had just watched a 'gay' movie. Now, mind you, I have absolutely no issues with gays or lesbians; what I have a problem with is false advertising. The drama of the film felt artifical rather than realistic.
Granted, the movie had some golden moments that touched my heart, I will admit that. Although, Josh Hutcherson probably wouldn't have been my first choice - his face reminds me of Sam Worthington, the guy with no facial expressions, you know? Anyway, Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore were the best part of the movie for me, while Annette Bening made a decent comeback.
Although it had a pretentious air about it, "The Kids Are All Right" was well-written. I don't expect it win any Oscars, and I truly hope it doesn't such as its predecessor 'Little Miss Sunshine,' which wasn't worthy, in my opinion. This movie will please critics and the academy, but as for me, I wasn't blown away.
(P.S. - If you want to watch a tangible, intricate family drama, I would recommend watching 'Rachel Getting Married')