This forgettable, throw-away indy comedy has some funny moments, but they're sparse.
Taylor Schilling (Piper from "Orange is the New Black") stars as a walking cliché in "Family," a new film that will mostly be remembered for featuring Juggalos. What's a Juggalo, you might ask? It's a fan of the psychopathic rap group known as The Insane Clown Posse (or "ICP"), a crazy hardcore hip-hop group that started in Detroit in the late 80s and caught fire in the early 90s. Think "Parrot-head" but with everyone's face painted like a clown, where evil and chaos is pedaled instead of margaritas and sandals.
Kate (Schilling) is a socially-awkward business woman who is all work and no play. She cares for nobody and doesn't seem to have an empathetic bone in her body. When her brother (Eric Edelstein) calls her up in a panic, she reluctantly agrees to watch her young niece, Maddie (Bryn Vale) as a favor. Kate has no such skills, and Maddie has her own troubles with bullies and whatnot, and...well...you can sort of see where this is headed.
Kate learns from Maddie and Maddie learns from Kate. Yawn. This universe is populated with a sea of semi-interesting side characters, with Kate McKinnon, Brian Tyree Henry and Matt Walsh showing up, but it's the young Fabrizio Zacharee Guido who brings the real laughs every time he appears (he's the lone stand-out). None of these characters are around long enough to shift the movie towards "worth seeing." Instead, we're stuck with the miserable Kate, who eventually learns to open up her heart when she chases Maddie through a Juggalo gathering, with the real ICP on stage.
Nothing really comes together, nothing really works in the dysfunctional "Family." You might chuckle, or smile a few times, or if you self-identify as a Juggalo you may just be happy that your "people" are getting film recognition. But for everyone else? Real friends don't let friends see "Family."
Run Time: 1 hour 25 minutes.
Starring: Taylor Schilling, Kate McKinnon, Bryn Vale, Brian Tyree Henry, Matt Walsh, Jessie Ennis, Eric Edelstein.
Written and Directed by Laura Steinel (feature-film directorial debut).
"Family" opens in limited release on Friday, April 26th, 2019.
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