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Margot at the Wedding

Nicole Kidman gives her best performance since "To Die For" (1995) in this neurotic cultural zeitgeist comedy that methodically goes against the grain. Kidman plays Margot, the bi-polar sister to her equally screwed up sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Short-story author Margot feigns sibling loyalty to ostensibly repair the rift she created with Pauline some years ago when she brings her son Claude (Zane Pais) to witness Pauline’s marriage to her slacker fiancé Malcolm (Jack Black) at the couple’s New England home. Familial melodrama explodes in sequenced intervals as Margot gets up to her old tricks of sabotaging Pauline while her obvious motive of hooking up with an old flame that lives nearby shocks her androgynous son’s sensibilities. Writer/director Noah Baumbach’s follow-up to "Squid and the Whale" is a sophisticated satire that takes hilarious and accurate aim at the not-so-squishy belly of American family life where narcissistic psychosexual games are played out with shameless immediacy. Claude is the likable protagonist among a slew of warped family members. The narrative weak link is Baumbach’s refusal to introduce the girls’ mother even though she arrives during the film’s closing moments. Special features include a making-of featurette with Noah Baumbach and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Aspect ratio is 16:9 anamorphic widescreen, with sound quality produced in Dolby Digital 5.1. (Movie –Three Stars, DVD features – One Star) Rated R, 91 mins. (Paramount)

February 24, 2008 in Black Comedy | Permalink