"The Kids are All Right"

I had chosen to see a preview screening of "Salt" over "The Kids are All Right" this past Wednesday, but it was still a movie I wanted to see, so a friend and I made the trek to Royal Oak, which is currently the only local theater that has it. I was expecting it to be fabulous because it had 96% on RottenTomatoes; disappointingly, however, it turned out to be a movie that is more of a "critics pleaser" and not the type of movies I like to see.

Nic (Annette Bening, "The Women") and Jules (Julianne Moore, "Chloe") have a lovely life together with their two biological children, 18-year-old Joni (Mia Wasikowska, "Alice in Wonderland"), who is on the cusp of leaving for college, and 15-year-old Lazer (Josh Hutcherson, "Bridge to Terabithia"). Their children were conceived by the same sperm donor - technically Nic is Joni's mom and Jules is Lazer's, but the two kids refer to them collectively as their "Moms." Lazer is curious and wants to get to know their sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo, "Date Night"), but since he isn't 18 yet, Joni must make the call for him; little do they know how one phone call will completely change their lives. They end up meeting Paul, their donor, and they like him immediately; Nic, however, distrusts him, and Jules isn't sure what to think. Paul's entrance into their lives ultimately shows the flaws in both Nic and Jules's marriage and in their family unit as a whole, and it is something with which they have to learn how to deal.

The actors in this movie were mostly very good, especially Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. Josh Hutcherson was fine as their son, but Mia Wasikowska didn't really do much - I liked her better as Alice in "Alice in Wonderland." Mark Ruffalo is good as the laid-back, organic-farming sperm donor, who is just a tad too laid back for Nic's taste.

I would say Maybe see this movie. It definitely was not as good as I thought it would be, although it did have its moments. My friend and I joked that this movie should be called "The Awkward Movie" rather than "The Kids are All Right," as there were many scenes that left us squirming in our seats (and no, not the lesbian and heterosexual sex scenes). The movie is rated "R" for a reason, so don't bring kids under 18 to see this, but the awkwardness was mostly how the characters related and talked to one another. What I did like about this movie was that it showed that all families have problems, no matter how unconventional that family is, and that eventually, if those problems are worked out like adults, the kids will end up being "all right."

In the metro Detroit area, "The Kids are All Right" is currently playing at the Main Art Theater in Royal Oak.

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