Too many plot threads unravel 'Steins'

Review C+

May 26, 2006|By CHRIS KALTENBACH | CHRIS KALTENBACH,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

Keeping Up With the Steins is equal parts a rumination on the rapacious silliness that comes from efforts to keep up with the Joneses and a tale of family rapprochement. Too bad the filmmakers couldn't settle on one plotline and stick with it.

The resulting film is affable enough, featuring an endearing turn from Garry Marshall as an eccentric grandfather who, on the occasion of his grandson's bar mitzvah, seems the only person in the universe concentrating on the boy's best interests. Ultimately, however, the film tries to do too much, with too many changes of tone. Worse, it wastes the talented, chronically under-appreciated Jeremy Piven, saddling him with a one-note character who comes across as simply pigheaded, while the story would have us believe he's much more.

Keeping Up With the Steins (Miramax Films) Starring Jeremy Piven, Garry Marshall, Jami Gertz and Daryl Sabara. Directed by Scott Marshall. Rated PG-13. Time 99 minutes.

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