A Family Affair Hits Netflix and It Has Some Laughs

A Family Affair delivers on what its title is promising in this multigenerational, coming-of-age romantic comedy arriving on Netflix.

Zara Ford (Joey King) has been working as a personal assistant to Hollywood star Chris Cole (Zac Efron) until she decides that she’s had enough. She thinks she’s found a great writer to rewrite the script for an upcoming film but Chris isn’t having any of it. Not surprisingly, she quits the next day, which brings us to where we are now. If she weren’t out, she would have been home when Chris tries winning her back. Instead, her mother, Brooke Harwood (Nicole Kidman) is the only one home when Chris stops by. The next thing we know, chemistry comes calling before Zara walks in on the middle of Brooke and Chris. Traumatic, I know. Despite it ll, Chris still wants Zara working for him again. Anyone else would run away as far as they can but not Zara. Against all odds, she goes back to work for Chris.

Can you imagine working for someone while they’re dating your mother? That someone being a major Hollywood star. I certainly can’t. You feel for Zara after both Chris and Brooke place her in such an impossible circumstance. At the same time though, Brooke has not fallen for anyone since her husband died over a decade earlier. In this way the film is a very different romantic comedy, let alone coming-of-age movie. Every person is at a different point in their life. Screenwriter Carrie Solomon is deliberate in not giving Zara a love interest. The film would probably not work in the same way but it just barely works as is. My issues are not with the performances–no, they’re fine.

Going off of the opening montage, the newest Icarus Rush film is premiering at TIFF. I’m sorry but I just have a hard time believing that a film like that is the type to premiere at TIFF. Maybe if it were playing in the Midnight section but not as a Gala or Special Presentation. The types of films that tend to premiere in those categories are films looking to launch an awards run or maybe have high-profile stars and seeking acquisition.

There are laughs to be found throughout the film but A Family Affair is rather long for a comedy. It does not need to be nearly two hours long. It’s too late to shorten the script now but the perfect length for a comedy film is 90 minutes, maybe 100 minutes at the most.

DIRECTOR: Richard Lagravenese
SCREENWRITER: Carrie Solomon
CAST: Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, Joey King, Liza Koshy, and Kathy Bates

Netflix releases A Family Affair on June 27, 2024. Grade: 3/5

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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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