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Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 6 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: This hilariously truthful look at family and marriage follows a father (Falk) and son (Reiser) who set out on an impromptu road trip. (Picturehouse)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 19
  2. Negative: 6 out of 19
  1. Avoids easy shtick and saccharine conclusions, opting instead for character dynamics that the two leads deliver with consummate skill.
  2. So powerful and tender are the scenes between Falk and Dukakis that by movie's end, I was wishing that the film had been more about the marriage of Sam and Muriel and less about the father and son.
  3. 63
    The movie is sort of a sideways version of "Sideways," even down to a scene where the two men join two women for dinner. The difference is, in "Sideways" the guys desperately want to impress the women, and in The Thing About My Folks, they want to impress each other.
  4. 50
    Sweet but dramatically inert.
  5. It's the same old, same old - except with some really snappy one-liners.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    38
    Felitta and Reiser mean nothing but well with this project, but too many lines sound fraudulent, and Reiser, it must be said, is a hopeless ham in the reaction shot department.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. JaneR.
    Sep 17, 2005
    10
    A funny,sweet,charming movie that made me laugh,chuckle,smile and cry. Peter Falk was WONDERFUL and so was Paul Riser. This one is a keeper !
  2. JimmyS
    Oct 1, 2005
    9
    Those who like classic coming of age films will love this one but those who are jaded and bitter will hate it. The over 30 crowd will love it.
  3. MarcJ.
    Oct 8, 2005
    9
    "The Thing About," though a bit drawn out in the middle, and laced with cute notes like Faulk's uncontrolled farting, was extremely real for me. It had some provocative turns in Reiser's and Faulk's preconceptions about the Folk's marriage relationship. My own attempt to bond with my father in his last years despite the horrible years of growing up and feeling the fallout from my parents' marriage. I loved this movie while my friend thought it schmaltzy. It either resonates or it doesn't. Expand
  4. TomM.
    Sep 25, 2006
    9
    The tension and affection, understanding and misunderstanding between all of the members of the family with a focus on the father/son relationship makes this a movie well-worth seeing more then once. Only those people who are so wounded by their own familial relationships and/or are uncaring about untangling and resolving them could fail to enjoy the healing and understanding that this story evokes. Expand
  5. JoAnnieB.
    Feb 1, 2009
    8
    Very funny and at the same time, very touching movie. Poolhall scenes is especially funny.
  6. MarkB.
    Sep 27, 2005
    7
    Comedian/writer/actor Paul Reiser is the only performer currently appearing in two movies simultaneously playing that MY folks would have thoroughly opposite opinions of. If I took them to see the gleefully obscene filthfest The Aristocrats, they'd have every reason and right to cut me out of the will, but if I followed it up with a visit to The Thing About My Folks they'd almost surely and gladly put me right back in. Reiser, of course, was the force behind the long-running marital sitcom Mad About You, which MAD Magazine in its parody backhandedly complimented by observing that it was too often deliberately quirky and charming at the expense of being really funny. Not true; at its frequent best, Mad About You was all three, and so is this. A road movie about an elderly father (Peter Falk) and adult son (Reiser) who take a Voyage of Discovery after Falk's wife and Reiser's mom suddenly leaves Falk, it's decidedly and unashamedly middlebrow; Falk's old improvisational-verite buddy John Cassavetes is probably rolling over in his grave right now (if he didn't do so enough last year upon finding out that his wife and son respectively starred in and directed The Notebook!) But who says middlebrow viewpoints can't be perfectly valid? Reiser's script isn't especially plot-heavy--not most of the way, anyway--but he fills it with lots of delightful, sometimes surprisingly perceptive observations about fishing, small-town sports, real estate selling...there's even a little exchange about best-selling author John Grisham that says in 10 seconds all you need to know about him. Many playgoers and movie buffs are aware of "Mamet-speak", a very distinctive dialogue rhythm common to characters in David Mamet's work; this film is loaded with "Reiser-speak", a form of conversational back-and-forth in which family members, spouses and friends spend half the time finishing each other's sentences and the other half repeating what the other one just said; it's a softer, gentler variation on "Larry David-speak", and it's fun. One of the nicest aspects of this very nice movie is that it gives equal weight to the wife's (Olympia Dukakis) reason for leaving (Falk's lack of attention to her and her own lack of personal identity) and his outrage at her doing so, since as far as he was concerned he was putting in all kinds of extra hours at work to provide her with a home and everything else he thought she needed; this balance makes The Thing About My Folks a lot more emotionally honest than the tony-but-phony (if widely acclaimed) 2002 whine-o-rama The Hours, in which Julianne Moore's suicidal carping about being trapped in a 1950s marriage came across as one-sided and self-centered. The most curious aspect of The Thing About My Folks is the decision to apparently shoot most of it on digital video or something like it, wasting all that pretty scenery by giving it a blurred look, but then some of the movie's inevitable detractors would argue that it's just as well, since Reiser could just have easily written it for radio. Pay them no mind (and don't be driven out of the theater by the opening shots of a naked Falk lovingly applying baby powder to himself; it builds to a hell of a payoff); listen instead to the young woman in the film who, having never met Falk and Reiser, correctly identifies them as father and son because they look so sweet together. Precisely! Expand