The reconciliation attempts of a dysfunctional New York family make for an affecting drama based on a single, clever conceit: The male relatives are played by successive generations of the Douglas acting dynasty -- father Kirk, son Michael, and grandson Cameron. What's more, Kirk's first wife, Diana, from whom he was divorced 50 years ago, plays the mother of Michael's character. While not an altogether original concept (Henry Fonda and his real-life daughter, Jane, played parent and child in 1981's On Golden Pond), it works here because the performances are uniformly strong; the eldest Douglas, having suffered a devastating stroke some years ago, exhibits energy that would be remarkable in even a healthy man of his age, and there seems to be scant diminution of his acting ability. He plays Mitchell Gromberg, cofounder of the prosperous law firm to which son Alex (Michael) devotes too much of his time. Alex's son Asher (Cameron Douglas, Michael's son from his first marriage), a college student who hasn't gotten much attention from his dad, is busted on drug charges, precipitating the latest in a series of family crises that range from Alex's suspected infidelity to his inability to have a civil exchange with his still feisty father. The interaction of members of this famous showbiz family makes for an unusually engrossing film, although script contrivances weaken it ever so slightly. Among the few non-Douglas cast members, Bernadette Peters registers solidly as Alex's long-suffering wife, and Rory Culkin scores as the lovestruck youngest scion of the Grombergs. Director Fred Schepisi could have sat back and let the novelty of the casting carry this picture, but he works hard to overcome minor script weaknesses and pulls disparate story points together. Thanks to him, It Runs in the Family succeeds as a strong, cohesive dramatic piece, not just a gimmicky bit of fluff.

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It Runs in the Family (2003)

PG-13

Drama · 1h 49m · 4/25/2003

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Some families can survive anything. Even each other.

Description

The reconciliation attempts of a dysfunctional New York family make for an affecting drama based on a single, clever conceit: The male relatives are played by successive generations of the Douglas acting dynasty -- father Kirk, son Michael, and grandson Cameron. What's more, Kirk's first wife, Diana, from whom he was divorced 50 years ago, plays the mother of Michael's character. While not an altogether original concept (Henry Fonda and his real-life daughter, Jane, played parent and child in 1981's On Golden Pond), it works here because the performances are uniformly strong; the eldest Douglas, having suffered a devastating stroke some years ago, exhibits energy that would be remarkable in even a healthy man of his age, and there seems to be scant diminution of his acting ability. He plays Mitchell Gromberg, cofounder of the prosperous law firm to which son Alex (Michael) devotes too much of his time. Alex's son Asher (Cameron Douglas, Michael's son from his first marriage), a college student who hasn't gotten much attention from his dad, is busted on drug charges, precipitating the latest in a series of family crises that range from Alex's suspected infidelity to his inability to have a civil exchange with his still feisty father. The interaction of members of this famous showbiz family makes for an unusually engrossing film, although script contrivances weaken it ever so slightly. Among the few non-Douglas cast members, Bernadette Peters registers solidly as Alex's long-suffering wife, and Rory Culkin scores as the lovestruck youngest scion of the Grombergs. Director Fred Schepisi could have sat back and let the novelty of the casting carry this picture, but he works hard to overcome minor script weaknesses and pulls disparate story points together. Thanks to him, It Runs in the Family succeeds as a strong, cohesive dramatic piece, not just a gimmicky bit of fluff.

Where to Watch

Status

Released

Language

English

Country

United States

Production Company

Buena Vista International
Cast
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Sho Xiao Ma

Skateboarder
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Ray DeMattis

Italian Waiter
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Michael Douglas

Alex Gromberg
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Kirk Douglas

Mitchell Gromberg
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Rory Culkin

Eli Gromberg
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Cameron Douglas

Asher Gromberg
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Diana Douglas

Evelyn Gromberg
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Michelle Monaghan

Peg Maloney
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Geoffrey Arend

Malik
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Sarita Choudhury

Suzie
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Irene Gorovaia

Abby Staley
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Annie Golden

Deb
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Mark Hammer

Stephen Gromberg
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Audra McDonald

Sarah Langley
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Josh Pais

Barney
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Bernadette Peters

Rebecca Gromberg
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Louie Torrellas

Jeremy
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Jonathan Mondel

Morgan
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Derek Kelly

Driver
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Roy Milton Davis

Homeless Man
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Lisa Ann Frisone

Homeless Woman
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Adrian Martinez

Mitchell's Doorman
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Cameron Boyd

Skateboarder
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Ian Boyd

Skateboarder
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Demetrius Kiprakis

Skateboarder
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Wynter Kullman

Katie
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Kelly Overton

Erica
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Marc Damon Johnson

Professor Edwards
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Carmen López

Rosario
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Stephen Singer

Dr. Kaplan
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Keith Nobbs

Stein
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David Greenspan

Howard
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Alvin Crawford

Male Nurse
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Robert Montano

Officer Bane
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Jerome Preston Bates

Officer McDonough
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Adam Mucci

Officer Samms
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Adam Grupper

Principal
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Linda Johnson

Teacher
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Brenda Denmark

Teacher (as Brenda Thomas Denmark)
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Joel Rooks

Suit
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Antonio D. Charity

Jogger (as Antonio Charity)
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Erik-Anders Nilsson

Jogger
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Sara Meyer

Jogger
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Mark Ledbetter

Young Jogger
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Shantell Herndon

Young Jogger
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Bob Kaliban

Jim Lindsay
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Samara Harris

Waitress (uncredited)
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Ben Hauck

Central Park Jogger (uncredited)
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Louie Leonardo

Ruelas (uncredited)
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Sarah Beth Nelson

Legal Assistant (uncredited)
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Matthew Ramoundos

Hockey Guy (uncredited)
Crew
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Fred Schepisi

Director
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Jesse Wigutow

Writer
Disc Releases
Disc Title Front Cover

It Runs in the Family

(DVD)

11/30/2010

Disc Title Front Cover

It Runs in the Family

(DVD, Keep Case (Std.))

10/21/2003

Disc Title Front Cover

It Runs in the Family

(DVD)

3/8/2006

Disc Title Front Cover

It Runs in the Family

(Blu-ray)

11/24/2015

Disc Title Front Cover

It Runs in the Family

(DVD)

9/4/2011

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