Joni (18) and Laser (15) search out their sperm donor and all of a sudden Paul (Mark Ruffalo) is catapulted into the middle of their lives, creating no small measure of mayhem. I don’t want to spoil any plot surprises, so let me give my judgments without introducing my evidence.
It’s a good, moving film, at the heart of which is Annette Bening’s brilliant acting. Her character Nic seems to hold on to the core of the family while the rest of them lose their heads a bit over Paul. Jules (Julianne Moore) starts out as an air-head but at a certain point shows herself to be somewhat deceitful and unprincipled, including her unforgiveable treatment of an employee. And Paul bumbles into their home with the arrogance of a convert (to family life), bringing along his confused emotional life. The kids are well-acted and believable, and the mild troubles they get into reflect their middle-class suburban environment.
I cried, I giggled (although it wasn’t quite the uproarious comedy other reviews had led me to expect). I believed the characters and the story. And I’d definitely recommend the film.
But I had the most fun standing in the long line, post-showing, to pay for the cinema’s parking. Surrounded on all sides by lesbian couples and their teenage children, it was a gas to listen to their comments, not the least from the kids for whom this was a unique public reflection of their own reality.
One dazzled teenager asked her moms, “Do you think everyone who came to the theater are like us?’ Her mother looked around, peering up and down the line, “Sure looks like it.”