Review in a Hurry: Kind of a drag, man. Jane Fonda stars as a hippie granny who tries to reconnect with her estranged lawyer daughter (Catherine Keener) and grandkids. Despite a few dope moments, this multigenerational serio-comedy becomes a bummer trip because of its predictable plot and phony characters.
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Uptight Manhattan attorney Diane (Keener) has serious mommy issues and has refused to let her kids meet their mysterious grandmother, Grace (Fonda)—until now. When Diane’s husband (Kyle MacLachlan) suddenly asks for a divorce, she packs up her teen son Jake (Nat Wolff, channeling Peter Brady) and young-adult daughter Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen) and whisks them away to Grace’s farm.
Things quickly get awkward as ultraconservative Diane clashes with her mom over politics, pot and parenting styles. Everyone just needs to get laid, right? So Diane reluctantly succumbs to the easygoing charms of a local carpenter (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), while vegan animal-activist Zoe struggles with her attraction to a smoldering butcher (Chace Crawford).
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The movie is filled with these contrived polarities and, ironically, despite the intended granola vibe, offers no organic characters. The love interests are perfectly disheveled hotties who look like, well, Morgan and Crawford; the latter sits around trading Walt Whitman quotes with Zoe. Yeah, right. All the while, annoying “filmmaker” Jake videotapes everything as he sings the praises of director Werner Herzog.
Fonda does exude a warm screen presence, but her oh-so-wise Grace is over the top. She philosophizes about art/love/spirit/transformation, participates in war protests, hosts a full-moon festival with howling sister-women, and coos corny lines like “Your soul has already told me everything I need to know.”
No love-in for this misguided Misunderstanding.
XOXO: Elizabeth Olsen dishes on Chace Crawford’s kissing style!
The 180—a Second Opinion: Following Martha Marcy May Marlene, Olsen continues to demonstrate real star potential even as she outshines her material. Somebody find her a worthy vehicle, stat.
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