EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|FAMILY BUSINESS (director: Sidney Lumet; screenwriter: from the novel by Vincent Patrick/Vincent Patrick; cinematographer: Andrzej Bartkowiak; editor: Andrew Mondshein; music: Cy Coleman; cast: Sean Connery (Jessie McMullen), Dustin Hoffman (Vito), Matthew Broderick (Adam), Rosana DeSoto (Elaine), Janet Carroll (Margie), Victoria Jackson (Christine), B. D. Wong (Jimmy Chiu), Bill McCutcheon (Doheny), Deborah Rush (Michele Dempsey), Marilyn Cooper (Rose), Salem Ludwig (Nat); Runtime: 115; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Lawrence Gordon; Tri-Star Pictures; 1989)|
pleasure is watching Connery shine as a roguish
criminal in a story
line that never gels."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Uneven filmmaker Sidney Lumet ("A Stranger Among
Us"/"Running on Empty"/"The
Wiz"), capable of
making either a
classic or a dud, comes up empty with this crazy mix
of a dark comedy,
crime thriller and family drama. It asks you to
believe that Sean
Connery's son is Dustin Hoffman. The pleasure is
watching Connery shine
as a roguish criminal in a story line that never gels.
It's adapted by Vincent
Patrick from his own novel (obviously another
screenwriter might have
cleaned things up the author couldn't because he was
too close to the
The sixty-something Jessie McMullen (Sean Connery) is
randy, down-and-out, career con artist criminal; an
Irishman who is
idolized by his 23-year-old brainy scientist drop-out
graduate school grandson Adam (Matthew
Vito (Dustin Hoffman) is Jessie's son, from his
deceased Sicilian wife.
The reformed Vito, married to a Jewish wife (Rosana DeSoto), is an ex-con who has gone
legit and is a
wealthy 14th Street wholesale meat distributor.
Because of his
up-tightness and nagging and no-fun attitude, Vito has
his father and his son. When Jessie involves Adam in
his latest scheme,
a high-tech robbery of a newly developed plasma in a
Island research lab, Vito only goes into the scheme to protect
Adam when he can't convince him to change his mind.
The heist is
botched, and Adam is arrested. For Lumet this is a
chance to discuss
moral issues involving the generation gap, the role of
research and the morality of the law. This seems out
of place and too
talky, and derails the thriller. In the end there's a
reconciliation among the three generations of men, who
are given a
chance to come together over the crime. This makes for
a dull comedy
that features unsympathetic characters and a messy
story that's too
weak to overcome all its shortcomings, including its
REVIEWED ON 5/4/2011 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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