Thursday, July 24, 2008

Stuart Saves His Family

Stuart Saves His Family; Comedy/ Satire, USA/ Germany, 1995; D: Harold Ramis, S: Al Franken, Laura San Giacomo, Vincent D'Onofrio, Shirley Knight, Harris Yulin

Mentally handicapped, but honest and gentle Stuart is the host of a motivational TV show in which he preaches how all people are equally important. But one day he gets fired. "Some Holocaust survivor would rather watch the "Skinheads hour" than your nonsense!", tells him his producer. So Stuart is forced to go to his family, a quarrelsome bunch of lunatics, in order to help them resolve a feud with their neighbor. But he just brings them into deeper trouble and in the court, instead of lies of savor, he speaks the dirty truth. Yet when his show gets back, including an impressive coulisse of clouds, he gains his confidence and enough money to treat his father's alcohol addiction.

"Can you take me in, I have an apology schedule...", says Stuart after he publicly insulted his producer. Too bad there weren't more such sagacious gags in the vague screenplay, but that isn't the only problem of the commercially unnoticed comedy "Stuart Saves his Family" based on the title character from the legendary "Saturday Night Live" show. Al Franken plays Stuart by using a bizarre speech pattern, the construction of the story is split into confusing parts of his childhood whereas almost every frame is leaned towards the unbound and laxly tone of the film. But there is something enchanting in the unusual title hero despite the bizarreness, the cinematography and Harris Yulin in the role of the cranky father are excellent, while Harold Ramis is a unique director whose films are interesting even after repeated viewings and always have at least one special scene, regardless of the quality, here present in the surreal moment where Stuart catches his father who falls on his hand as slowly and gently as a feather.


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