A Few Good Years

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Overview

A family takes on the difficult task of learning how to get along with one another in this emotional comedy drama. Alex Gromberg Michael Douglas is a middle-aged man who feels caught in the middle of his familial obligations as he muddles he way through a midlife crisis. While a successful businessman, Alex sometimes still feels as if he's under the shadow of his father, Mitchell Gromberg Kirk Douglas, a successful attorney whose skills in the courtroom outstripped his gifts as a parent. Elderly Mitchell has ...
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Overview

A family takes on the difficult task of learning how to get along with one another in this emotional comedy drama. Alex Gromberg Michael Douglas is a middle-aged man who feels caught in the middle of his familial obligations as he muddles he way through a midlife crisis. While a successful businessman, Alex sometimes still feels as if he's under the shadow of his father, Mitchell Gromberg Kirk Douglas, a successful attorney whose skills in the courtroom outstripped his gifts as a parent. Elderly Mitchell has recently survived a stroke, and Alex and Mitchell want to mend their relationship while there's still time, but making it so proves difficult, even with Alex getting advice from his wife, psychologist Rebecca Bernadette Peters, and Mitchell being prodded by his long-suffering wife, Evelyn Diana Douglas. Alex is also trying to reach out to his two sons, who are as different as night and day; college student Asher Cameron Douglas is an aspiring club DJ who seems to be styling himself to bear no resemblance to his father, while 11-year-old Eli Rory Culkin is an overly serious lad who is having trouble navigating the first steps of adolescence. It Runs in the Family marked the first time Kirk Douglas acted in a film with his son Michael Douglas; adding to the family atmosphere was Michael's son Cameron Douglas, working with his family for the first time, and Diana Douglas, Kirk's former wife and Michael's mother.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
The reconciliation attempts of a dysfunctional New York family make for an affecting drama based on a single, clever conceit: The male relatives are played by successive generations of the Douglas acting dynasty -- father Kirk, son Michael, and grandson Cameron. What's more, Kirk's first wife, Diana, from whom he was divorced 50 years ago, plays the mother of Michael's character. While not an altogether original concept Henry Fonda and his real-life daughter, Jane, played parent and child in 1981's On Golden Pond, it works here because the performances are uniformly strong; the eldest Douglas, having suffered a devastating stroke some years ago, exhibits energy that would be remarkable in even a healthy man of his age, and there seems to be scant diminution of his acting ability. He plays Mitchell Gromberg, cofounder of the prosperous law firm to which son Alex Michael devotes too much of his time. Alex's son Asher Cameron Douglas, Michael's son from his first marriage, a college student who hasn't gotten much attention from his dad, is busted on drug charges, precipitating the latest in a series of family crises that range from Alex's suspected infidelity to his inability to have a civil exchange with his still feisty father. The interaction of members of this famous showbiz family makes for an unusually engrossing film, although script contrivances weaken it ever so slightly. Among the few non-Douglas cast members, Bernadette Peters registers solidly as Alex's long-suffering wife, and Rory Culkin scores as the lovestruck youngest scion of the Grombergs. Director Fred Schepisi could have sat back and let the novelty of the casting carry this picture, but he works hard to overcome minor script weaknesses and pulls disparate story points together. Thanks to him, It Runs in the Family succeeds as a strong, cohesive dramatic piece, not just a gimmicky bit of fluff.
All Movie Guide
Being Hollywood royalty means you get to make movies like It Runs in the Family, where one of the leads is a stroke victim, another is an acting neophyte. But this is no mere vanity project. Michael Douglas and family aren't interested in a sentimental monument to their own success, and everyone carries his weight -- regardless of age, infirmity or experience level. In fact, the poster for It Runs in the Family -- three generations of Douglas men grinning on a fishing boat -- gives a decidedly false impression of simplistic hominess. Fred Schepisi's film tackles a host of less-than-cheery issues -- death, aging, infidelity, drugs, veteran care, liberal guilt, alienation -- all while remaining light enough to qualify as a comedy, one that benefits greatly from real-world family chemistry. In one scene that perfectly combines the movie's two selves, Mitchell Gromberg (Kirk Douglas) and his son Alex (Michael Douglas) attempt an impromptu (and illegal) Viking funeral for Mitchell's brother -- on a lake surrounded by summer homes, under cover of darkness. As Alex cracks wise about his father's hair-brained idea, it's a hilarious use of gallows humor, made authentic by the real father-son relationship informing it. Even better, the movie never panders to the elder Douglas, whose 1996 stroke severely impacted his speech. The audience quickly discovers it doesn't need to pity (or cringe at) Kirk Douglas, but rather, do what comes naturally: laugh at the veteran's comic instincts, still plenty sharp. Even Cameron Douglas proves capable as the college-aged stoner, making his casting more than gimmicky nepotism, while Bernadette Peters and Rory Culkin hold their own as the two non-Douglas Grombergs. It Runs in the Family refuses to wrap things up neatly, making for an affecting portrait of family members -- both real and fictitious -- who are grounded enough to recognize their own shortcomings.
Village Voice
Goes easy on the schmaltz, and the catastrophes have the puncturing feel of real life. Ed Park
New York Times
Throughout the movie you can feel the actors' offscreen relationships resonating with their performances and enriching them immeasurably. Stephen Holden

Goes easy on the schmaltz, and the catastrophes have the puncturing feel of real life. Ed Park
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/8/2004
  • UPC: 027616896377
  • Original Release: 2003
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mgm (Video & Dvd)
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Michael Douglas Alex Gromberg
Kirk Douglas Mitchell Gromberg
Rory Culkin Eli Gromberg
Cameron Douglas Asher Gromberg
Diana Douglas Evelyn Gromberg
Bernadette Peters Rebecca Gromberg
Michelle Monaghan Peg Maloney
Geoffrey Arend Malik
Sarita Choudhury Suzie
Irene Gorovaia Abby Staley
Annie Golden Deb
Mark Hammer Stephen Gromberg
Audra McDonald Sarah Langley
Colman Domingo
Marc Damon Johnson Professor Edwards
Robert Montano Officer Crane
Keith Nobbs Marc Stein
Stephen Singer Dr. Kaplan
Jerome Bates Officer McDonough
Cameron Boyd Skateboarder
Ian Boyd Skateboarder
Antonio D. Charity Jogger
Alvin Crawford Male Nurse
Roy Milton Davis Homeless Man
Ray Demattis Italian Waiter
Brenda Thomas Denmark Teacher
Lisa Ann Frisone Homeless Woman
David Greenspan Howard
Adam Grupper Principal
Shantell Herndon Young Jogger
Linda Johnson Teacher
Bob Kaliban Jim Lindsay
Derek Kelly Driver
Demetrius Kiprakis Skateboarder
Wynter Kullman Katie
Mark Ledbetter Young Jogger
Carmen Lopez Rosario
Adrian Martinez Mitchell's Doorman
Sara Meyer Jogger
Jonathan Mondel Morgan
Adam Mucci Officer Samms
Erik-Anders Nilsson Jogger
Kelly Overton Erica
Josh Pais Barney
Joel Rooks Suit
Sho Ma "Xiao" Skateboarder
Louie Torrellas Jeremy
Technical Credits
Fred Schepisi Director, Executive Producer
Marit Allen Costumes/Costume Designer
George Allison Art Director
Ian Baker Cinematographer
Michael Barosky Sound/Sound Designer
Patrizia Von Brandenstein Production Designer
Joel A. Douglas Associate Producer
Michael Douglas Producer
Marcy Drogin Co-producer
Paul Grabowsky Score Composer
Susan Jacobs Musical Direction/Supervision
Avy Kaufman Casting
Diane Lederman Set Decoration/Design
Kerry Orent Executive Producer
Todd Pfeiffer Asst. Director
Jesse Wigutow Co-producer, Screenwriter
Kate Williams Editor
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

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3 Star

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2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fathers and Sons a volatile mix

    I recently had the chance to see this film and genuinely liked it. I empathized with Alex very much and loved the line when his father, Mitchell says "You're a much better father than I am" in which Alex replies, "You didn't really set the bar that high, Dad." How true at least for me. Fathers wake up! Your sons are listening!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Runs in family

    Great family movie..we enjoyed it even my 20 year old.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews