Boundaries movie review: family lies

Mildly wacky road-trip shenanigans meet mildly uncomfortable family dramedy. The saving grace? The cast is a joy to spend time with.

Laura (Vera Farmiga) has vowed never to see or talk to her unreliable, former–drug dealer father, Jack (Christopher Plummer), ever again, not least because of the bad influence he would be on her teenaged son, Henry (Lewis MacDougall). But now Jack has been kicked out his nursing home for bad behavior, and she has to drive him across three states to deposit him with her sister, JoJo (Kristen Schaal). Mildly wacky road-trip shenanigans ensue, such as the gentle kookiness of Jack selling pot to Buddhist monks. But the indignities writer-director Shana Feste (Endless Love) subjects her characters to in the name of family dramedy verge on the uncomfortable, particularly because she deploys them only because there’d be no story if she didn’t: Jack’s reliance on adult diapers is a focus of strained humor as he uses them to smuggle the pot stash he’s unloading to old friends and acquaintances along the way, but worse is the utter obliviousness Laura has to maintain about what her father (with the help of her son) is up to on their travels. It almost goes without saying that the cast is a sheer delight to spend time with, but we do end up pitying them rather more than a lighthearted story about their inevitable reconciliation would seem to demand.

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