The Family Tree might not be the greatest offbeat indie comedy I’ve come across but the film has its moments. The cast for the most part are fine, albeit there isn’t one actor or actress that particularly standout. The Blu-ray offers up good video and audio transfers while the features are limited.
Genre(s): Drama, Comedy
Entertainment One | R – 91 min. – $29.98 | November 21, 2011
Directed by: Vivi Friedman
Writer(s): Mark Lisson (written by)
Cast: Dermot Mulroney, Hope Davis, Chi McBride, Max Thieriot, Brittany Robertson, Selma Blair, Keith Carradine, Bow Bow, Gabrielle Anwar, Christina Hendricks, Jane Seymour, Rachael Leigh Cook
Theatrical Release Date: August 26, 2011
Features: Featurettes, Trailers
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, English
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 3.0/5
Plot: In the seemingly perfect town of Serenity, the Burnett family is coming apart at the seams. But when a romantic tryst-gone-wrong with the next door neighbor (CHI MCBRIDE) leaves housewife Bunnie (HOPE DAVIS) with short term memory loss, Jack (DERMOT MULRONEY) and the rest of his dysfunctional family are given an unexpected second chance at suburban bliss.
Directed by Vivi Friedman, The Family Tree makes only her second feature-length film following an offbeat comedy entitled Certainly Not a Fairytale starring Linda Cardellini and Jason Segel. Unfortunately upon doing my research on the filmmakers, I discovered Ms. Friedman had passed away only 5 days ago (1/2/12) making this her final film. While I can’t say this is a great drama-comedy, it certainly has its moments and you can tell that Friedman had the talent to at least make a serviceable film.
Casting wise, nobody really stands out, although stars Dermot Mulroney and Hope Davis make the most out of an uneven script. The others, like Chi McBride, Brittany Robertson and Selma Blair (in a small role) at least are decent in their limited parts. Gabrielle Anwar (“Burn Notice”), Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”) and Rachael Leigh Cook (She’s All That) also appear in even smaller roles.
On the whole, The Family Tree might not be a homerun hitter, but it has its moments and if you have 85-minutes to spare, it might be worthwhile to check out especially if you’re a fan of any of these actors.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.0/5
“Building a Family Tree” Featurette (10:13; SD) is a basic making-of featurette where the actors (and crew members) give insight about the plot and their characters. It’s nothing special but you do get bits of info.
On-Set Footage (9:47; SD) – This is more or less a fly-on-the-wall view of behind-the-scenes footage as we watch the actors get ready to shoot their scenes.
Lastly, the disc also includes a Theatrical Redband Trailer (2:02; HD) and a Theatrical Greenband Trailer (2:29; HD).
Previews – The Pool Boys, A Beginner’s Guide to Endings, Jolene, A Summer in Genoa
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Entertainment One releases The Family Tree on Blu-ray with a good-looking 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and 1080p high-definition (MPEG-4 codec). Given this is set in a suburban area, we do get plenty of brightness and colors that give this transfer a nice pop. Detail levels are very nice and skin tones seem to be just right without looking oversaturated.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is also well done with clear dialogue levels (which makes up for the bulk of the film) while the score and some minor action help provide at least a little depth for the other channels.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Overall, The Family Tree might not be the greatest offbeat indie comedy I’ve come across but the film has its moments. The cast for the most part are fine, albeit there isn’t one actor or actress that particularly standout. The Blu-ray offers up good video and audio transfers while the features are limited.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2.