Taking the Fun Out Of Dysfunctional

helen hunt liev schreiber Taking the Fun Out Of DysfunctionalIf you haven’t reached the end of your attention span for dysfunctional families, here comes another one in Richard Levine’s Every Day. Liev Schreiber is absolutely perfect as Ned, a well-paid TV scriptwriter who appears to have it all–colorful job, perfect home, loving wife and two mature, intelligent sons with promising futures. But beneath the surface, Ned is in crisis, and festering scabs are ready to erupt; after 19 years of career and marriage, nothing is what it seems. His older son, Jonah, is gay. His younger son, Ethan, plays the violin and hopes to come back from the dead as a flower. Wife Jeannie (Helen Hunt) has sacrificed her own ambitions to take care of her alcoholic and terminally ill father (Brian Dennehy). Ned’s boss (Eddie Izzard) is a demanding, mean-spirited slave driver who eschews sensitivity, demanding trashy scripts full of shock value, kinky sex and political incorrectness and barking idiotic orders to his baffled stable of writers (“Bestiality? Sex with one’s dog is the new sex with one’s cat!!”). His father-in-law (Brian Dennehy) has moved in with his wheelchair, muttering about his weak bladder and irritated bowels. Ned’s sexy new writing partner (Carla Gugino) seduces him into pot smoking, cocaine and skinny-dipping. Sometimes the film delivers surprising metaphors for angst (“Criticism is like medicine. There’s no easy way to give it. You just take it–if you want to get better”). Although the acting is first-rate, the writing suffocates in negativity. The theme is that happiness, given certain family dynamics, is an unrealistic expectation. But Every Day is too relentlessly depressing to recommend to the everyday audience. It seems to be on automatic pilot. Horrible, sad things keep happening, but it just goes on.

rreed [at] observer.com

Every Day
Running time 93 minutes
Written and directed by Richard Levine
Starring Liev Schreiber,
Helen Hunt, Brian Dennehy

2/4