The Austin Chronicle

Wintry Mix

The holiday film forecast

By Kimberley Jones, November 23, 2001, Screens



Houston native and UT grad Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums may be another film about failed genius, but don't call it a retread of Rushmore and Bottle Rocket. This time, co-writer/director Anderson, with longtime collaborator and co-writer Owen Wilson, have exploded the wonderfully weird sensibilities of a Max Fisher or a Dignan and given birth to a whole family full of warped wonders. They've expanded their universe this go-round: The Wes Anderson Players have invited, gasp, celebrity to join the troupe. A craggily charming Gene Hackman stars as the n'er-do-well family patriarch and film namesake, Royal Tenenbaum, kicked out of the family's Manhattan estate years prior for infidelity and general oafishness. Wife Etheline (Anjelica Huston) is left to rear the clan of child prodigies: Chas, the financial whiz; Richie, the sweatband-spangled tennis pro; and adopted daughter, Margot, a Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright by high school. But if you know Salinger's Glass family intimately (and the Tenenbaums are just a stone's throw away), then you know that from child genius springs adult neuroses -- something which can be very, very funny, especially when those adult neuroses are personified by Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, and Gwyneth Paltrow. While the film promises more of the Anderson/Wilson deadpan wit, The Royal Tenenbaums goes to even more melancholy places than the pair's previous films ... which just may woo the Academy into giving them their due. (Dec. 14)


Not Another Teen Movie ... Audiences may not be exactly frothing for another film about teen hijinks, but still, this spoof has potential ... to kill the genre once and for all. (Dec. 14)

Joe Somebody ... Home Improvement's Tim Allen reteams with The Santa Clause director John Pasquin in this "black" comedy. ("Tool Time" Tim in a "black" comedy? Arr-arr.) The premise, at least, is encouraging: Allen plays a sad sack who gets the crap kicked out of him while fighting for a parking spot on the national Bring Your Daughters to Work Day. (Dec. 21)

How High ... Rappers Redman and Wu Tang's Method Man go Cheech and Chong 2001 in this comedy about a special strain of smart-making ganja that vaults the duo into Harvard. Directed by former music video director and Bob-progeny Jesse Dylan.(Dec. 26)

The Independent ... In this cameo-heavy comedy, Jerry Stiller plays a Corman-esque, one-time king of B-movie films fallen on hard times; Janeane Garofalo is the estranged daughter pulled in to save Dad from Chapter 11 and professional ignominy. (December)

The Accidental Spy ... Mixing comedic mugging and his namesake action prowess, Jackie Chan plays a salesman cum unwilling recruit into an international conspiracy ring. Advance word is that the film boasts Chan's first nudie scene. (Jan. 11)

The Fluffer ... Wash West, veteran of the gay porn industry, writes and co-directs this comedy about a love triangle in the gay porn industry (natch). Don't know what a "fluffer" is? Use your imagination ... we certainly are. (January)

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