‘The Perfect Family,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


Don’t trust the trailers for Anne Renton’s “The Perfect Family.”

They make it look like an irreverent, iconoclastic satire, one that attacks hypocrisy among the pious – like something from the Farrelly brothers or, perhaps, John Waters. Oh wait – Waters already made that movie with Turner and called it “Serial Mom.” And it was a lot more interesting than this alleged comedy.

In fact, “The Perfect Family” is dramatic – when it isn’t dull and obvious. While there’s fodder here for a lampoon, Renton, working from a script by Paula Goldberg and Claire Riley, prefers the Lifetime-movie model.

Kathleen Turner plays Eileen Cleary, who discovers at the beginning of the film that her local monsignor (Richard Chamberlain – wow) has nominated her for a prestigious award: Catholic Woman of the Year. Her only competition is her arch-rival, Agnes Dunn (Sharon Lawrence).

Agnes is holier-than-thou and hoity-toity, setting up a potential cat-fight (or perhaps Cath-fight) that never materializes. Indeed, there are so many possibilities for barbs and jabs that never come to fruition that you start writing your own script in your head as you watch.

Because, you see, all is not well in the Cleary household. Even as Eileen is basking in the glow of her nomination, bombshells are about to go off at the Cleary dinner table.

This review continues on my website.

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