It Runs in the Family Fred Schepisi

It Runs in the Family Fred Schepisi
The most interesting thing about It Runs in the Family is that that the majority of the cast are members of the Douglas clan. This presumably makes for smoother character interaction, as Michael Douglas says in the featurette "Family Makes You Nuts: The making of It Runs in the Family," they "already knew everybody's rhythms." The 28-minute long featurette is testament to the fact that the actors also find their lineage the most engaging aspect of the story. It's a very cute 28-minute long family album showing interactions between three generations of Douglas men, with Diana Douglas, Michael's mom long-divorced from father Kirk. And since there weren't any Douglas-ites yet young enough to play the younger son, thank goodness there was one more Culkin — this one Rory — running around to fill those shoes. A small, slow film about life inside a loving, naturally dysfunctional family, it is hard to put your finger on the point. The film revolves around the father, Alex Gromberg (Michael Douglas), as he discovers that what is really important in life is family, but there are enough snapshots of everyone else's life to call this an ensemble piece. While Alex meanders through some tough, so does the rest of his family. His father, Mitchell (Kirk), deals with getting older, with ailing loved ones and his own aging body; his eldest son, Asher (Cameron Douglas), bungles through college and his pot-dealing sideline while trying to romance a straight-laced student; and youngest son Eli (Rory Culkin) has a crush on a renegade public schooler. The two charming women, Alex's wife Rebecca (Bernadette Peters) and Mitchell's wife Evelyn (Diana Douglas), get the short end of the stick with roles that are really all about their husbands. There are some touching scenes with Michael and Kirk where the audience can't help but wonder how much is echoing real life, and Kirk does an impressive job working with the handicaps brought on by a stroke, rather than against it. The DVD also pays homage to Kirk in "All that Grit: Kirk Douglas and the movies," a recap of Kirk's shining role in the history of cinema. A few deleted scenes, a photo gallery and trailers round out this ho-hum DVD.