Home for the Holidays

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

Claudia Larson (Holly Hunter), a 30-something single mother of a teenage daughter, is having a bad day. She has just lost her job at the art museum, and her daughter announces she has decided to have sex with her boyfriend just as Mom is getting on a plane to fly home for Thanksgiving. Dreading the holiday at her parents' home she tries to overlook her eccentric parents' annoying behavior. Mom (Anne Bancroft) and Dad (Charles Durning) each chatter on endlessly at the same time about different things. Holly's homosexual brother, Tommy (Robert Downey, Jr.), unexpectedly shows up in the middle of the night with Leo, a co-worker. Uninhibited Tommy delights in sneaking around the house taking pictures of Claudia in the shower, but Claudia and Tommy are the only family members who seem to really like each other. Thanksgiving Day is total chaos as the wine flows, tempers flare and insults fly, mostly between Tommy and his ultra-conservative married sister. Once through Thanksgiving, the Larsons have Christmas to look forward to. Touted as comedy, HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS has some laughs, but the exaggerated, dysfunctional family becomes tiresome after a while.

In typical Hollywood style, homosexual Tommy is portrayed as the understanding, caring brother. He has given up his holiday with his live-in companion to help Claudia through the family reunion. But a totally gratuitous home-movie clip shows Tommy getting married to his lover on a public beach. An old-maid aunt, played by Geraldine Chaplin, drinks too much wine and, with encouragement from Tommy, rambles on about her crush on her brother-in-law. Although Dad dutifully goes through the ritual of saying the blessing, it is obvious it has no religious significance, and he even curses in the middle of it. Together the characters take the Lord's name in vain over 40 times. Claudia and Leo are about to have sex on the living room sofa when Tommy interrupts. Later, she spurns Leo's advances, saying she does not want to have sex with someone she will never see again. The ultra-conservative married sister and her husband who try to abide by traditional values are made to look neurotic and narrow minded. Perhaps zany families like the Larsons really do exist throughout America, but hopefully their vocabulary, sexual behavior and spiritual life are less offensive.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Paramount Pictures, 5555 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (30) times - Mild 18, Moderate 12

Obscene Language: Many (12) times (s-word 8, other 4)

Profanity: Many (41) times - Regular 34, Exclamatory 7

Violence: Once - Moderate (fight with pushing and shoving, hit in face)

Sex: None, but couple interrupted, no nudity

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few references to sex

Drugs: Several times (drinking wine beer, some drunkenness)

Other: Family tries to overcome petty differences; irreverent, indifferent attitude toward religion

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Young adults

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