the family fang

FilmWatch Weekly: Men, Math, Chicken, and Czechs

Alternatives to this week's superhero spectacle include zany Danish comedy, offbeat family dysfunction, and the secret stars of "Star Wars"

It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that about a million times more people will see “Captain America: Civil War” this weekend than any of the films listed below. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s a crackerjack action film, designed to release a flood of serotonin into the brain of any Marvel Comics fan who watches it. But viewers looking for other options may feel stymied by its ubiquity. That’s what we’re here for.

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Film Review: “The Family Fang” lacks bite

Jason Bateman and Nicole Kidman play the children of Christopher Walken in this dysfunctional family tale.

Jason Bateman has made a pretty good living as The Normal Guy.

Sure, he first got famous playing Ricky Schroder’s “bad boy” friend from military school on the sitcom “Silver Spoons,” but since then he’s specialized in being the calm, rational center around whom insanity ceaselessly orbits. What I like to call the Andy Travis roles. The culmination of this was, of course, Michael Bluth on “Arrested Development,” and Bateman has carried this persona over to his big-screen work to both comic (“Horrible Bosses”) and dramatic (“The Gift”) effect.

When it came time for Bateman to follow in the footsteps of fellow brown-haired sitcom stars Zach Braff and John Krasinski and direct a feature, he opted to subvert this image and play a jerk, albeit a jerk with a heart of gold, in “Bad Words.” That movie wasn’t very good, and in his second starring-and-directing vehicle, “The Family Fang,” he’s back to playing the sort of fellow who’s only problems are (a) the eccentrics who complicate his life and (b) the fact that he’s just too darned nice.

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