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The Royal Tenenbaums
Review by Ross Anthony

Having sorely missed this film on its first run, I picked it up as a previously viewed VHS tape and screened it just a month after "Life Aquatic" released.

Hackman is sourly delightful as a guy who is simply unashamedly uncaring of his family. Oddly, only he and Danny Glover prove lovable in their own opposite ways. They give their characters weight and fill the screen, while the other characters serve to chop it up with thin personas. However, though populated with talent, the Tenenbaums didn't grab me.

I'm a huge fan of Owen Wilson, I will see anything he's in, but his performance here doesn't warrant buying a previously viewed tape. I also enjoyed Wes Anderson's "Rushmore," but again, while the Tenenbaums in their own quirky way made me laugh at times, they bored me too.

Anderson indulges in a feeling of set-up that bleeds far into the film. Scattered, the production lacks build. It seems to hope that oddity will be enough to entertain. And to a certain limited extent it does. Then as if to justify itself at the last minute, like it's main character, the film's cathartic moment pops without much description or explanation.

Actually, "Royal Tenenbaums" and "Life Aquatic" are quite similar in overall feel. The subtle difference is the strength of Murray's character in Aquatic and the process of his emotional change. Murray anchors the project. Both as written and as acted, that character gives a needed strong foundation to the oddity. Whereas, Hackman's Royal is never allowed that kind of power, his process is never revealed. He's strong yes, but diluted by the scattered others.

  • The Royal Tenenbaums. Copyright © 2001. Rated R. 109 minutes.
  • Starring Danny Glover, Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Owen and Luke Wilson.
  • Directed by Wes Anderson.
  • Screenplay by Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson.
  • Produced by Barry Mendel, Scott Rudin, Wes Anderson at Touchstone/American Emperical.

Grade..........................B (2/4)

Copyright © 1998-2022 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:55:46 PDT