THE MAGNIFICENT MEYERSONS (2021)

August 19, 2021

Greetings again from the darkness. It might have been quite enjoyable had we just continued to eavesdrop on Kate Mulgrew and Barbara Barrie as they strolled through the park talking about life – past, present, and future. Their segment is easily the highlight of the film, and unfortunately, it’s difficult to put a positive spin on any other piece of this project from writer-director Evan Oppenheimer. Okay, some of the drone shots of New York City are lovely, however, it’s important to know when enough is enough.

The film opens by introducing the titular Meyersons. Ian Kahn plays eldest son Roland, a grumpy, uptight dude who seems to care only about 3 things: his young daughter, his success in business, and his strength in holding the family together during tough times. Relative newcomer Jackie Burns plays eldest daughter Daphne, who is married to nice guy Alan (Greg Keller), and she’s the type who holds grudges against him for what she dreamt, and keeps secrets that shouldn’t be kept. Shoshannah Stern plays Susie, the deaf daughter with an unscrupulous business plan and a luminescent also-deaf girlfriend Tammy (Lauren Ridloff, “The Walking Dead”). Youngest son Daniel (Daniel Eric Gold, a Josh Groban lookalike) is a Rabbi-in-training, while questioning all aspects of religion.

Most of the Meyersons are not very adept at being decent human beings. Their mother is played by the aforementioned Ms. Mulgrew (“Orange is the New Black”, Star Trek: Voyager”), and she’s a pediatric Oncologist, who questions her career choice since she has to regularly deliver such horrific news. Ms. Barrie plays her mother Celeste, who seems to be the only one with any real perspective on life or the family. Also appearing is terrific character actor Richard Kind as father Morty Meyerson, who is seen mostly through flashbacks prior to abandoning his family some twenty years prior.

It’s quite possible this would work better as a stage play, but that would mean the loss of the multiple street shots of the city, which are far more interesting than most of the conversations we are forced to hear. If a filmmaker chooses to fill the screen with a bunch of whiny New Yorkers, the whining should at least be interesting and/or entertaining. And while it’s understandable for a director to want to give his own child some screen time, all objectivity cannot be surrendered. This is quite simply a painful and laborious film to sit through. I don’t say that easily or often, as I inevitably find something or someone to latch onto in the 250+ movies I watch each year. This time I failed.

Limited theatrical release in NYC on August 20, and Los Angeles August 27

WATCH THE TRAILER