Relative Strangers [DVD]
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Dr. Richard Clayton (Ron Livingston) has it all: A loving fianc‚e, Ellen (Neve Campbell), two wonderful, supportive parents (Edward Hermann and Christine Baranski), a successful career as a psychiatrist and a self-help book on anger management climbing the best seller list. Everything in his life is right on course until his jealous brother (Bob Odenkirk) tells Richard he was adopted. A private investigator locates his birth parents, Frank and Agnes Manure (Danny DeVito and Kathy Bates): a couple of crude, unrefined and offensive Carnys. Frank and Agnes proceed to make Richard's life miserable, from nearly destroying his relationship with his adoptive parents and close friends, to sabotaging his career during a live television taping promoting his new book, to nearly ruining his approaching marriage. Although Richard's life appears to be in shambles, he learns that he may have something positive to learn from Agnes and Frank Manure after all.
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Top Customer Reviews
The ending of this movie is surprisingly touching and it leaves you with a good feeling inside.
I recommend highly this movie if you need a good laugh and like stories with a moral at the end.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The film circles around psychologist Richard Clayton. His life is going wonderfully. He's getting married to a beautiful woman, he's extremely successful and his brother Mitch is extremely jealous, and so he spills his family's dirty laundry. Richard is adopted. Feeling betrayed Richard decides to track down his birth parents expecting to find upper class educated people to justify his talent and success but instead he finds the last people on the face of the earth he'd want to be related to...carnies.
Frank and Agnes Menure (pronounced like cow poop) are outspoken, unmannered and embarrassing, especially to someone of Richard's social standing. With that said Richard spends his time finding every reason imaginable to hate them, to blame them for everything that goes wrong in his life. But all Frank and Agnes do is love their boy and this becomes very aware to Richard's fiancée Ellen. The Menure's may not be the upper class heroes Richard expected, but they are kind hearted and loving people (beneath that harsh exterior) and he just needs to give them a chance.
The film is predictable, but it is, above all else, hysterical. I've always been a huge fan of Kathy Bates, I mean the woman can play anything. I prefer her funny, and here she is undeniable the funniest in the bunch. Couple her with Danny DeVito and you have a comedic team made in Hollywood heaven. Their banter back and forth is purely delightful since they have a very strong comedic chemistry with one another. Ron Livingston serves his purpose as Richard. He was better suited in `Office Space' and comes off a little over the top here, but he works fine and doesn't take away from the film. Christine Baranski is priceless as Richard's adoptive mother Arleen, and Edward Herrmann is also great as his adoptive father Doug. Beverly D'Angelo shines as Ellen's mother Angela, and Neve Campbell herself is delightful as Ellen.
Where is she by the way? I miss my Neve fix!
Don't be a stranger (I can't believe I'm this corny) to `Relative Strangers', a film that took me by surprise in its ability to scratch my funny bone. I absolutely loved this adorable little film and am sure that you will too. So give it a shot, hunt it down, buy it and enjoy every laugh filled minute.
Chrissy K. McVay - Author
Well, I got what I wanted with this one; Danny DeVito, Cathy Bates and a light comedy that actually turned into being hilarious. Yes, the plot was extremely predictable but in this case that did not matter. I wanted to be entertained; not challenged, and I can assure you I was entertained.
To make it short, we have a young, up and coming psychologist who has just written what is certain to become a best selling self-help book. He is engaged to be married soon. His parents are tremendously rich and his life is going great. Suddenly out of nowhere he finds that he was actually adopted and his "parents" are not really his birth parents. He immediately hires a investigator to find his true birth parents.
Enter Danny DeVito and Cathy Bates, the Manures (Pronounced just like it is spelled). They are his true birth parents and they most certainly just stepped off of the stage of a Jerry Springer Show. Our young man's life is turned upside down...he is not who he thinks he was.
The strong point of this film is the verbal (and physical) exchanges between DeVito's character and that of Bates. (How can Bates play so many characters and do it so well, each and every time? What a wide ranges she has!) Time and again throughout this movie I found myself laughing out loud. The humor is what you would call a bit crude but the lines are so perfectly and professionally delivered that the viewer will find themselves wishing they did not have a mouth full of soda while listening. (That hurts).
While being quite funny, it is also quite touching at times. I dare say that there is not one of us here that do not have some relatively somewhere that is not something of an embarrassment to us. I know for sure that many of my relatives feel that way about me, and they keep me hidden away during social events and don't run around claiming me as one of their own...all families are like that I am thinking. There are some nice little lessons in this film about owning up to who we are and to not take ourselves all that serious.
I liked this film. It was funny, the casting was almost perfect and the actors and actresses seemed to enjoy what they were doing...they worked quite well with each other. This is a nice light movie that will bring you some enjoyment; at least it did me.