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Daddy & Them (2001)

Families can be difficult to live with, but sometimes they’re all you’ve got

Directed by:

Billy Bob ThorntonBilly Bob Thornton

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 96 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

Billy Bob Thornton and Laura Dern play husband and wife Claude and Ruby Montgomery – part of an extended poor white trash Arkansas family. The family itself is largely dysfunctional and mostly alcoholic. Ruby is jealous and paranoid, especially as regards her sister who once dated Claude. In addition, Ruby's mother Jewel (Diane Ladd) is constantly telling Claude how he fails to measure up to Ruby's previous boyfriends. All this leads Claude to believe that he is not good enough for Ruby, which expresses itself in his desire to build up a muscular body – he believes she will love him more if he gets big.

The family are drawn together when Uncle Hazel (Jim Varney) is charged with murder. Not knowing anything about the law, the family must learn to work together along with lawyer Elaine Bowen (Jamie Lee Curtis) and husband Lawrence (Ben Affleck) whose relationship is nearly as stormy as that of the family. Getting through the court case will prove a challenge that will change the relationships within the family forever.

This is a gentle and amiable comedy that focuses less on plot and more on the relationships between its characters. The first half is slow and the lack of pace means that the story takes time to draw the audience in, however the second half is a definite improvement as the characters become increasingly interesting. The strong cast produce some outstanding performances, and it is those that give the film its merit, although they are sometimes unable to add interest where the story is lacking it. There is certainly a voyeuristic appeal to the film – the family do come across as genuine, and give one the feeling of looking in on the life of a real subsection of society.

It's Got: Characters that rise above their flaws and become increasingly appealing.

It Needs: More pace and development, especially in the first half.

DVD Extras No extras with this basic DVD release. Extras: None. DVD Extras Rating: 0/10

Alternatives:

Igby Goes Down, Life as a House, Soft Fruit

Summary

This is a simple yet intelligent comedy with some good qualities, but it takes its time to get going.

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One Comment

  1. David Lee Hensley
    Posted October 27, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    This movie is brilliant in its simplicity. Most of us get caught-up in the muck-n’-mire of the day-to-day to realize that our pattern gets in the way. With Brit blood & southern accent, this brings us all to a broader scope. Raised as a W.A.S.P. from WV, yet accepting of other beliefs, colors, and creeds- this film speaks to me on a personal level.
    I am not mentally deficient, I was clocked at over 140 IQ. Perhaps the sentimentality is mistakenly perceived as a mark of ignorance, but for most of us, we admit our devotion to emotion. Rationalist or empiricist, you must look at what is a well developed proof on both planes. What ot may lack in brazen wit, it sufficiently surpasses in immediate application to reality.
    Billy Bob has once again shown that he is one of us by appealing to the imperfection that makes us truly human, rather than pretend to be beyond flaw- that is truly God’s Country… Guess what, none of us quite make the mark, so humble yourself every chance that you get and stop throwing stones. Stop knocking other religions, while you are at it- this is the #1 reason that atheists have a legitimate argument against an intelligent being called “God.”
    Surely you can see that fighting over “WHO that delivered me from there” is similar to “WHO that delivered them from there” is indeed very close. Why would an infinite being separate but to achieve diversity to become more than just one?
    If you can answer the above question, what are you doing wearing a skinsuit in a dimension that cannot support it ?
    As a whitey- “FUCK THE CLAN, FUCK THE SKINHEADS, AND FUCK THE ANTI-SIMITES!!!”
    Hate is dead- if nothing else, hate is death! The death of your own spirit! Do not light a cross for the one that speaks against the truth. Other races cannot do the damage that financial giants have brought us in the name of God’s child. These are the agents of misfortune!!! Greedy assholes of any race, creed, color, or religion!!!
    Just get back to taking care of your own shit! Let us be loving and kind-
    sustaining one another– destruction belongs to the other house.
    REMEMBER THIS TEACHING – ALL ARE ONE!!!

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