You never know.”
What does that mean? Of course you never know, but why would someone adopt that as an all-purpose rejoinder?
Writer/producer/actor Paul Reiser has a good feel for the way families talk to each other, especially the talk that goes around the subject the long way rather than addressing it directly. The subjects here are the ones families find hardest to talk about, the ones
Parents should know that this movie has some very strong material for a PG-13 (and that it will be unlikely to be of interest to teenagers anyway). It has some very strong language, bathroom humor, some frank sexual references (including a father and son talking about the parents’ sex life and some objectifying treatment of pretty young women), drinking (and drinking too much), smoking, a fight (characters hit in the crotch), and sad scenes of illness and death.
Families who see this movie should talk about what Ben learned from his father and his mother. Why was it hard for him to hear what his wife was telling him about the house in the country? What did Sam learn from Ben? One of the movie’s most important lessons is that it is never too late to resolve old issues. And another is that even though our families drive us crazy and are never all we want them to be, they are still the most precious thing we have.
Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy others on this theme, including Memories of me (Billy Crystal and Alan King), Nothing in Common (Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason), Dad (Ted Danson and Jack Lemmon), the current King of the Corner (Peter Riegert and Eli Wallach), and I Never Sang for my Father (Gene Hackman and Melvin Douglas). They will also appreciate Reiser’s fine television work in “Mad About You” and Falk’s in “Columbo.