I remember going to see The Family Stone in theaters with my own family during the 2005 holiday season. “It’s going to be a super fun rom-com about a dysfunctional family,” I recall telling everyone, “and it stars Carrie Bradshaw, so you know it will be good.” I’ve misled a lot of people about a lot of things in life, but this could be the worst misleading that I’ve ever done. The Family Stone isn’t a rom-com. It’s a tragedy. Of epic proportions. I think I laughed once. But only out of pure discomfort. So let’s use the beginning of the 2013 holiday season to talk about this horrendous movie.
It starts off with Everett (Dermot Mulroney) bringing his girlfriend, Meredith (Carrie Bradshaw) home to meet his family. I know what you’re thinking, but no, it’s nothing like Meet the Parents. Mostly because no one is in this movie’s likable. Also because we’re supposed to hate Meredith from the start. You see, she’s VERY uptight. We know she’s uptight because she’s wearing a formal business suit to meet her boyfriend’s family. Also her hair’s in the tightest bun imaginable. Why she would dress like she’s running a funeral home when she’s meeting her boyfriend’s family for the first makes no sense. But sure, let’s go with it.
As soon as Everett’s family meets Meredith, they hate her. Probably because they’re judgmental pricks who think their son deserves someone better than a NY Post sex columnist. Yes, despite supposedly being super liberal and open to everything, they write off Meredith right away. Mama Stone (Diane Keaton, because Meryl Streep was busy) actually acts offended when Meredith says she doesn’t want to share a bed with Everett in their house. While I think faux-prudery is stupid, I do get it. Not everyone wants to kick off their relationship with their boyfriend’s family by reminding them that they sleep together on the reg. Amy Stone (Rachel McAdams, from her pre time-travel days) hates her because she’s not a NPR-listening loose-skirt wearing hippie. Which we can all agree is an invalid reason to hate someone. Oh also, she clears her throat a lot. An annoying tick, yes? A reason to go out of her way to be mean to her? No. And fine, I’ll concede that I’d be annoyed too if I had to vacate my room for my sister’s boyfriend. But that’s the Stone’s fault. I find it hard to believe there’s not an extra bedroom in that big old house of theirs. Maybe they can make space by kicking out their oldest daughter, who adds approximately NOTHING to the plot.