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Baxter (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Nicole Kidman) are two slightly maladjusted adults, thanks to their eccentric parents (Christopher Walken and Maryann Plunket), who have staged public events with their children to great controversy. While it’s been a long time since their exploits have been seen, there is a growing wonder if the Fang’s have officially retired their act. Some want more. Baxter and Annie do not.When they refuse to join their parent’s for one last hurrah, it’s not long after when police arrive with some terrible news. They’ve been murdered, but their kids aren’t so sure it’s true.
Based on the book of the same name by David Lindsay-Abaire, The Family Fang is a comedy-drama directed by Bateman, in his turn behind the camera. Akin to Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums and Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale, the trailer is a darkly humorous look at a dysfunctional family trying to keep their heads above water. Both Bateman and Kidman look well-cast and properly beleaguered by their traumatized pasts, with Kidman especially striking. There are several good moments in the clip that suggest she will anchor this movie and will do so with great effectiveness. Walken is his usual creepy (in a great way) self and is a good choice for the role.
Bateman directed in starred in 2013’s Bad Words, a brash comedy film that didn’t fare so well with critics but showed promise for his skills as a director. With The Family Fang, Bateman again tackles comedy, but with a darker tone. No stranger to playing parts in dysfunctional families, his years as the lead on the television series Arrested Development could easily be seen as an audition for what lies here, though this has a far more dramatic weight to it. He and Kidman look really good together, a surprising pairing, even though they play brother and sister. It’s a pair probably not many would have thought could work, but based on the clip, do just that.
Using golden-toned flashbacks to tell the tale of their troubled past, the trailer looks promising. It’s not often we get something original in theaters and this little gem might be the perfect filler before the summer run of big budget action movies flood cinemas.
The Family Fang opens April 29, 2016
Kevin Wilson (based on the novel by), David Lindsay-Abaire (screenplay)
Christopher Walken, Nicole Kidman, Jason Bateman