The Family Fang: A Real Dysfunctional Family

Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman in The Family Fang.

Directed by Jason Bateman from a screenplay adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire from Kevin Wilson’s book, The Family Fang stars Bateman, Nicole Kidman, Christopher Walken, and Maryann Plunkett as the dysfunctional family comes to the big screen.

Baxter (Bateman) and Annie (Kidman) are brother and sister. They live on different sides of the country but their lives are very similar mostly due to being the children of Caleb and Camille Fang (Present Day: Christopher Walken and Maryann Plunkett, Flashbacks: Jason Butler Harner, Kathryn Hahn). Annie went into acting but her work is featured in the tabloids more so than on screen. Baxter’s luck as a writer isn’t going so well. A freelance opportunity sees him end up in the hospital with in injury.

Unfortunately for Baxter, the hospital informed his parents so he tries to have his sister pick him up so he can stay with her. He can’t fly so that’s not an option. Annie is hesitant to help him out but they both realize what having to stay with their parents would mean. Their parents aren’t normal by any means but they somehow but end up at their parents’ home to recover.

Baxter and Annie were performers from a young age. While their parents may have garnered some respect and acclaim, they were consistent with shocking the public with their art, which sadly involved using their children as pawns. In the present day, neither of the two are stable and express some ambivalence with regards to having to be reunited with their parents.

Their parents go missing and while the police fear that the worst has happened, Annie thinks it is another one of their performances, that they have faked their death for amusement. Baxter and Annie discover truths about their own lives as they try to learn what happened to their parents.

When the Kevin Wilson’s dark comedy was published, readers and critics alike were fascinated by its humor, drama, and universe. The storytelling is that similar to that of a fairy tale but it’s also told in a cinematic way that made such a film adaptation inevitable. Give credit to Nicole Kidman, who was drawn to the book and thought it would make a great film.

Jason Bateman was also a fan of the book and upon hearing his pitch, it became a sure thing that The Family Fang would be the follow-up to his directing of Bad Words.

The Family Fang opened in theaters nationwide and on demand on May 6, 2016.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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