Let me start off by saying that I don’t not see a movie just because it gets poor reviews. I thought about seeing this movie in the theater, but I didn’t see a point to spending $10 to do so. When the box office numbers from the first weekend of release came out, I felt I made the right decision to wait for the DVD.
Regardless of what I’d heard about this movie prior to seeing it, I was excited because I really like the actors in it. For the most part, I felt deceived. The first 75% of this film was strictly about Robert De Niro’s character with a few minutes here or there of the other supporting cast. Don’t get me wrong, De Niro can pull off entire films with no additional cast, but when you have top actors in a film, you kind of expect to see more of them.
Honestly, this was one of my favorite De Niro performances. I don’t think many people would agree with me, but he was so vulnerable in this role. He was loving and caring and I didn’t see the man who was famous for saying, “You talkin’ to me…” I saw a father who was desperate to be reunited with his family after the death of his wife. After having each child cancel on a family weekend, he decides to go to them. He wants to try to form a bond with them like the one they had with their mother.
The storyline definitely left something to be desired. Any family action that was taking place outside of De Niro’s character was done with a voiceover. That got old very quickly. I didn’t feel much of a connection between De Niro and two of the actors playing his children: Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale. There was a better vibe between him and Drew Barrymore, who also played one of his children. I felt that this film may have been a bit miscast.
The last twenty minutes of the film were better than the preceding seventy. De Niro is really the only reason I felt this film was watchable. He just portrayed a sweetness to his character that you don’t get to see very often with the other characters he plays.