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'A Family Affair' movie review: Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron play bland seconds in Netflix's inferior clone of 'The Idea of ​​​​You' | Movie review news

Every now and then, Hollywood draws attention to its apparent creative bankruptcy by producing two or more films with exactly the same premise in quick succession. It's hard to believe, but this has happened to Joey King twice. A few years ago, she starred in the rather terrible medieval fantasy The Princessthat before Netflix's suspiciously similar Damsel, with Millie Bobby Brown. King had the first-mover advantage then, but not this time. Now she's starring in A Family Affair, a new romantic comedy that feels like it's cut from the same cloth as Prime Video's far better The Idea of ​​You.

Starring Anne Hathaway as a 40-year-old woman who begins a whirlwind romance with a young pop idol, played by Nicholas Galitzine, The Idea of ​​You benefited greatly from the wonderful chemistry between the two actors and a script that was more than willing to shed the romantic comedy trappings and lean into adult drama. A Family Affair, on the other hand, is undone by a slavish loyalty to genre cliches and absolutely no vibe between the stars. Zac Efron And Nicole Kidmanwho focus on the couple May-December.

Also read – Film review of “The Idea of ​​​​You”: Anne Hathaway is spectacularly good in Prime Video’s hot love drama

a family matter 1 Nicole Kidman as Brooke Harwood and Zac Efron as Chris Cole in A Family Affair. (Photo: Netflix)

Kidman plays Brooke Harwood, an acclaimed author who lost her husband over a decade ago but hasn't dated anyone since. Efron plays Chris Cole, a self-centered movie star who cares more about his “iconography” than real relationships. But neither of them is the protagonist of A Family Affair; the film is confusingly presented instead from the perspective of King's character. She plays Zara, Chris's long-suffering 24-year-old personal assistant. Brooke happens to be her mother.

One day, fed up with Chris' unreasonable demands, she angrily quits and vows never to come back. He had kept her around for years with false promises of a promotion, but undermined her at every turn, ignoring her sensible advice about her career and making her do menial tasks for him instead. When we first meet her, Zara is being berated by Chris on the phone for being late to his breakup. He has a sort of ritual where he gives the women he dumps a pair of expensive earrings to soften the blow. She was supposed to bring them to him. She also fetches his laundry, his morning coffee and, on one off-screen occasion, fresh air. But she doesn't even get a nod of approval when she files her papers. She's sure he wouldn't last a day without her.

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She's right. Chris is completely confused that he no longer has his favorite henchman and decides to get her back the next day. He shows up unannounced at the luxurious Los Angeles home where Zara lives with her mother, only to find that she's not there. Brooke, on the other hand, is all in. A bottle of tequila is opened, the past is discussed, and one thing leads to another. In short: Zara surprises them in bed and is understandably horrified. She explicitly forbids them from continuing the affair, but if they'd listened to her, we wouldn't have a movie, would we? The problem is that writer Carrie Solomon and director Richard LaGravenese only do the bare minimum to create characters you can feel comfortable behind, because at various points the film timidly expects you to root for them all. The film doesn't have the courage to show the obvious human weaknesses of these characters, instead portraying them as unconditionally subservient to the paper-thin script.

Read more – Ricky Stanicky film review: John Cena overcompensates for Zac Efron’s lackluster performance in Prime Video’s poorly directed comedy

a family affair 2 Nicole Kidman as Brooke Harwood, Zac Efron as Chris Cole and Joey King as Zara Ford. (Photo: Netflix)

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We are not is meant to challenge Zara's constant whining and general curiosity. We are expected to believe Brooke and Chris when they claim that their relationship isn't a meaningless fling. But it doesn't work. Zara is an unusually annoying character, and frankly, she has no business being the lead at all. We're supposed to loathe Chris for being so mean to her, but because Efron plays him like a lovable jerk, it's impossible to take him seriously. It's pretty obvious that he means her no harm, and when Zara forbids her mother from having a relationship with him, you wonder why. Not because they're going to end up together, but because the movie didn't do enough to tell you why he's so mean to her. a red flag.

There is a scene where Zara tells her mother stories about his problematic behavior, but since we do not seen see it with our own eyes (and also because Zara herself is untrustworthy), her words of warning fall short. It is a frustrating situation for the viewer. Should we cheer for Chris and Brooke or should we be on Zara's side? A Family Affair would have been a missed opportunity in any case, but with The idea of ​​you It is still on everyone's lips and inevitably feels like stale seconds.

A family affair
director – Richard LaGravenese
Pour – Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, Joey King
reviews – 1.5/5

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Rohan Naahar

Rohan Naahar is the deputy editor at Indian Express Online. He covers pop culture across all formats and mediums. He is a Rotten Tomatoes-acclaimed critic and a member of the Film Critics Guild of India. He previously worked at the Hindustan Times, where he wrote hundreds of film and television reviews, produced videos and interviewed the biggest names in Indian and international cinema. At the Express, he writes a column called 'Post Credits Scene' and has hosted a podcast called 'Movie Police'. You can find him on X at @RohanNaahar and write to him at [email protected]. He is also on LinkedIn and Instagram. … Read more

First uploaded on: 03-07-2024 at 08:02 IST