MOVIE REVIEW: Adam Sandler tries acting and impresses
IKNOW, I know: not another movie about a dysfunctional, artsy New York family.
Stop right there. The Meyerowitz Stories isn't just very good. There are sections where it is simply bloody great.
Now brace yourself for one of the main reasons why this vividly realised multi-character study hits the heights and stays there for the duration: Adam Sandler.
Against all logic (and a five-year-plus rut of horrible movies) Sandler delivers the standout performance of what is an incredibly well-acted picture.
He plays Danny, the neglected eldest son of veteran New York artist Harold Meyerowitz (Dustin Hoffman).
As the film begins, Danny is about to lose the one person that truly appreciates him. Eliza (Grace Can Patten) is not just his only child. She is his closest friend and confidante.
Now that Eliza is off to college to make her own way in the world, Danny is forced to take stock of where a life lived alone is going to take him.
Unfortunately, with no job to speak of - Danny's career as a touring musician has been stalled for many years - all roads lead back to the family headquarters in Manhattan.
This is very much Harold's domain, and what the old man says is how it goes. Now well into his seventies and a fourth marriage, Harold once came so close to fame and fortune that it rendered his entire family emotionally bankrupt.
With Dad still thinking his big break is just around the corner, Danny and his adult siblings Matthew and Jean (Ben Stiller and Jean Marvel) still shrink down to the equivalent of small children in his company.
They crave an approval that may never be forthcoming. Harold expects an adulation he may never deserve.
As a portrait of a family where everyone is talking and no one ever really listens, The Meyerowitz Stories cannot be faulted.
While Hoffman exerts an intense gravity with his performance that befits a patriarch too old and selfish to change his ways, Sandler (and to a lesser degree, Stiller) conveys the sadness and silliness of what it must be like to live in the shadow of such a deluded figurehead.
Incisive, poignant and dryly amusing stuff, sure to appeal to anyone who has never fallen out of love with the NYC-set movies of Woody Allen or Wes Anderson.
The Meyerowitz Stories is now showing exclusively on Netflix.
The Meyerowitz Stories
Stars: Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Elizabeth Marvel, Grace Van Patten, Emma Thompson.
Director: Noah Baumbach
Rating: MA 15+
Verdict: 4 stars