Stuart Saves His Family

Stuart Saves His Family

Director: Harold Ramis

Cast: Al Franken, Laura San Giacomo, Vincent D'Onofrio

     
 

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Al Franken brings his Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley to the big screen in this unexpectedly downbeat comedy about a man desperately trying to overcome his dysfunctional upbringing. Stuart hosts a TV show on public access TV in which he offers bits of New Age wisdom on self-help, often incorporating his trademark affirmation, "I'm good enough, I'm

Overview

Al Franken brings his Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley to the big screen in this unexpectedly downbeat comedy about a man desperately trying to overcome his dysfunctional upbringing. Stuart hosts a TV show on public access TV in which he offers bits of New Age wisdom on self-help, often incorporating his trademark affirmation, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!" Too bad Stuart's advice doesn't work so well for himself; he barely supports himself as a waiter, his self-esteem is shaky at best, and his family is dominated by depressive alcoholics sunk in denial (for all his quirks, Stuart is the only Smalley willing to admit he has a problem). One day, Stuart's friend Julia (Laura San Giacomo) tells him that a cable network is looking for programming, and suggests he should pitch his show to them. Soon Stuart has a nationwide audience and is actually able to support himself, but that's small comfort when his family falls into another crisis. By turns a goofy comedy and a serious look at a dysfunctional family, Stuart Saves His Family does feature a few strong dramatic performances by Laura San Giacomo, Vincent D'Onofrio and Shirley Knight, and a distinctive comic turn by Julia Sweeney as a guest on Stuart's show.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Stuart Saves His Family is that rarest of films, a very serious comedy. Al Franken's screenplay manages to walk a very thin line, satirizing the language and attitudes of 12-step programs while simultaneously showing that they work. There are a lot of damaged people on display in the film. Stuart's best friend (and Al-Anon sponsor) delivers a heartbreaking story about her father, while Stuart's brother Donnie (Vincent D'Onofrio in a great performance) is quickly becoming a "big drunk" just like Dad, and his sister eats and eats and eats. All this pain produces a movie that is short on belly laughs but long on truth. Perceptive about alcoholism and the dynamics of dysfunction, Stuart Saves His Family contains not a happy ending, but a very realistic, hopeful one. Late in the film, after a drunken accident nearly kills Donnie, the Smalley family performs an intervention on Dad. Where a typical "movie of the week" would fill a scene like this with copious tears and mea culpas, this film again finds the right tone. What takes place between the family members is heartbreaking and quite realistic. The moral of the film is that there is great pain in life, but it is possible to continue living in a healthy, happy way. It is not easy, but it can be done. Anyone expecting a brainless comedy based on a Saturday Night Live character should look elsewhere. This is a serious movie that has more pain, truth, and laughs than most films.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/06/2013
UPC:
0883316730812
Original Release:
1995
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Paramount (Pmt)
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:37:00
Sales rank:
4,007

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Al Franken Stuart Smalley
Laura San Giacomo Julia
Vincent D'Onofrio Donnie
Shirley Knight Stuart's Mom
Harris Yulin Stuart's Dad
Lesley Boone Actor
Julia Sweeney Mea C.
Fred Applegate Carl
Theodore Raimi Hal

Technical Credits
Harold Ramis Director
Trevor Albert Producer
Willie D. Burton Sound/Sound Designer
Susie de Santo Costumes/Costume Designer
Cosmas Demetriou Set Decoration/Design
C.O. Erickson Producer
Lauro Escorel Cinematographer
Nancy Foy Casting
Al Franken Screenwriter
Joseph T. Garrity Production Designer
Michael Haley Asst. Director
Craig Herring Editor
Pembroke J. Herring Editor
Lorne Michaels Producer
Dinah Minot Producer
Thomas Reta Set Decoration/Design
Monty Rowan Camera Operator
Marc Shaiman Songwriter
Whitney White Associate Producer
Thomas P. Wilkins Art Director

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