The Descendants

December 16, 2011

Alexander Payne turned California wine country into California whine country with Sideways, so it stands to reason that he could similarly find a way to have a bad time in Hawaii with The Descendants. The George Clooney-starring movie that is not about a SoCal punk band concerns Clooney playing the “back-up parent” who’s called in to take care of his estranged daughters after their mother is injured in a boating accident, leading to lots of patented Alexander Payne awkward silences, plus the inevitable revelation that Clooney’s wife was cheating on him.

We’re not really spoiling anything here—the trailer more or less gives away the entire plotline—but as always with Payne movies, it’s less about the destination and more about the journey along the way, where Clooney is pushed toward some sort of self-realization with the support of characters played by Judy Greer, Matthew Lillard, Beau Bridges, and an intense-looking Robert Forster.  We’d say that wrangling all of these folks into one of his movies (as well as successfully making George Clooney schlubby through liberal application of hideous Hawaiian shirts) means Payne deserves a vacation, but we know he’d only end up not enjoying it.

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