The Kids Are All Right has had rave reviews, and even whispers of Oscar nominations. However it is a fairly average family comedy drama, and one wonders if all the praise is simply based on the fact that the family consists of two gay mothers (Moore and Bening) rather than the usual Hollywood nuclear family.
The narrative revolves around a lesbian couple Nic (Benning) and Jules (Moore) who have two children, Laser (Josh Hutcherson) and Joni (Mia Wasikowska) by the same sperm donor. Now that Joni is 18, Laser persuades her to get in touch with their sperm donor father so that they can meet him, but they don’t tell their ‘moms’ as they know they will disapprove. Eventually Nic and Jules discover that the kids have met with donor Paul (Ruffalo), and when they meet him they instantly hate his laid back attitude and unconventional lifestyle.
The Kids Are All Right is a funny movie. It has some great liners, even if most of them are sourced from the unconventional family relationships within the films scenario. The performances are all believable and nicely sentimental, but the film does drag on with very little actual plot so it does occasionally feel staid and some of the sub plots, like with Laser and Joni’s various friends, just drift away into nothing. These scenes however do add to the realism and authentic feel that director and writer Cholodenko is clearly aiming for, as does the grainy 35mm film used.
It’s certainly not a particular memorable film, but as entertainment The Kids Are All Right has some original lines, and together with some honest performances is far superior than a lot of recent Hollywood comedy films.