Star Rating:

The Royal Tenenbaums

Director: Wes Anderson

Actors: Danny Glover, Bill Murray, Ben Stiller

Release Date: Friday 1st March 2002

Genre(s): Drama, Factual

Running time: 109 minutes

Co-written and directed by Wes Anderson (Rushmore), The Royal Tenebaums follows a dysfunctional family of geniuses, the Tenebaums, whose father Royal O'Reilly (Hackman) abandoned some years before. After Royal learns that his estranged wife, Etheline (Huston), is to marry her accountant (Glover), he decides to feign illness in a bid to win back the hearts of his missus and their now grown up children.

Instead of basing everything on two main players (see Rushmore), Anderson has constructed a plethora of well thought out and written characters in The Royal Tenebaums. His script is equally well paced and honed, showing maturity and restraint when it comes to delivering gags, as well as a strong narrative thread.In terms of performances, Hackman does exceptional work, with a genuinely affecting, extremely funny turn as the patriarch, while the other actors skillfully - if not quite so flamboyantly - handle the witty script.

If there's a fault with the movie, it's that sometimes you get the impression that the director is trying to do too much, and is a little self-consciously clever. But it's a minor quibble for such a smart, well-balanced comedy about a family of freaks.