Keeping Up With the Steins
Benjamin Fiedler (Daryl Sabara) is on the verge of becoming a man. His father, Hollywood agent Adam (Jeremy Piven), is desperate to keep up with the Steins, who spent the GNP of a small nation on their son Zachary’s bar mitzvah. Adam is also desperate to make up for being abandoned by his own father. Benjamin doesn’t want any part of it, and so he concocts a plan to invite his estranged grandfather (Gary Marshall as a hippie, complete with ponytail, dirty poncho, and moon-child girlfriend Daryl Hannah) to derail his already high-strung dad. And yes, everybody ends up learning an important moral about family and the value of tradition. At 90 minutes, Keeping Up is too tightly packed for things like character development—you can see the transformation from anger to forgiveness happening before your eyes, like a flower blooming in stop-motion. Marshall and Doris Roberts’ grandparents are the closest things to real, rounded people, but even then Roberts is forced to give a speech about how there are no “angels and devils in this world . . . most of us fall somewhere in-between,” just to take the edge off the caricatures. Plus you’re forced to look at Gary Marshall’s naked, flat ass, not once, not twice, but, like, a bunch of times. No one ever said comedy was pretty.