Everybody's Fine? No, Everybody's Sappy
De Niro the best part about predictable holiday treacle
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2009 11:10 AM CST
In this film publicity image released by Miramax Film Corp., Robert De Niro, left, and Drew Barrymore are shown in a scene from "Everybody's Fine."   (AP Photo/Miramax Film Corp., Abbot Genser)

(Newser) – Critics are divided on Everybody’s Fine: Some think the family drama is okay because of Robert De Niro, and others think it’s awful despite him. What they’re saying:

  • It’s “a thoroughly fake movie that is about, of all things, the need for truthfulness,” writes Kirk Honeycutt of the Hollywood Reporter. “Characters have no depth, and all emotions get ladled on via a syrupy score and De Niro's strenuous acting.”
  • Rooting for these characters “requires saintly moviegoing patience I clearly don't have,” says Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly, adding that the script was written “under guidance, apparently, from Dr. Phil.”

  • De Niro is “very good,” says Bill Goodykoontz of the Arizona Republic, but the film doesn’t trust its audience, and the ending is “pure sap.” It “may well be fine, but it could have been a lot better.”
  • You may feel as if you’ve “been run over by the pathos van,” because the movie borders on “emotional fraud.” But it’s such a relief to see De Niro "in a project that does not stink” that Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune liked it anyway.