The Descendants is a soap opera with Hawaiian shirts. It’s worth seeing for the sharp but uneven human observations in the script and direction by Alexander Payne (Sideways), and sometimes it’s fun (but mostly exasperating) watching George Clooney trying to act as he struggles through the role of a man trying to raise two needy daughters while grieving over the loss of his wife in a boating accident. Clichés ensue. Clooney fans may be pleased to see their hero in a sentimental tearjerker, but the fawning and gushing of so many astute critics who have greeted this plodding melodrama with raves on the film-festival circuit mystifies me. The Descendants has moments, and I give it high marks for making literal sense at a time when few movies do, but it isn’t original or revealing enough to merit a running time of just under two hours. To me, it doesn’t come close to this year’s other George Clooney potboiler, The Ides of March. Read More
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