Relative Strangers Movie Review

Here's a funny thing I learned today: Meet fhe Parents was actually a remake of a film of the same name, made eight years earlier! (It is now reportedly impossible to find and/or suppressed by those who made Parents. Writer/director Greg Glienna didn't do a whole lot between then and 2006, when he brought us Relative Strangers, which went straight to video (despite an impressive cast roster). I mention all of this because it's a whole lot more interesting than actually talking about Strangers, a derivative and simplistic comedy that you'll figure out completely inside of 15 minutes.

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Psychologist/author Richard (Ron Livingston) lives an idyllic life with fiancee Ellen (Neve Campbell), when it's sprung on him by his uptight parents that he's adopted. Meet the (birth) parents: Danny DeVito and Kathy Bates. "The Menures -- it's French!" The laughs don't get much bigger than this. The Menures are country hicks (carnies, actually) who clash with everything in Richard's life. They eat meat and Richard prefers wheat gluten. They curse and have loud sex in the room next door. You get the idea.

Naturally this continues until Richard has a nervous breakdown, a TV talk show confrontation, and an inevitable change of heart. I'll leave the big revelation of the third act as an excercise for the reader. See if you can guess what the twist is!

Despite hammy performances from DeVito and Bates and earnest attempts to rise above the material from Livingston (his post-breakdown scenes, with Richard slathered in barbecue sauce, are almost funny), Relative Strangers feels so derivative and warmed-over that it's actually hard to believe that, in 2006, someone decided to make a movie about this topic again.

Unless you yearn for endless cleavage shots of Bates and Beverly D'Angelo (nearly unrecognizeable at this point), give it a pass.

The DVD includes a behind-the-scenes featurette.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : , , Brian R. Etting, Josh H. Etting, Lati Grobman


Comments

Relative Strangers Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG-13, 2006

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