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Movie Review: Keeping Up with the Steins

Alternate Title: My Big Fat Jewish Bar Mitzvah

Story: D'ja ever get heartburn while watching a bad movie? That's what happened to me while watching this slow paced, disappointing, over the top, predictable movie. It could easily have been an ABC After School Special. You remember those treacly scenarios where all of the characters have an epiphany by the story's end? Gasp!

The film opens on a promising satirical note at the Steins' son's Bar Mitzvah. The theme is The Titanic and it is on a cruise ship. Some laughs, some hope. Then we leave the Steins and meet the Fiedlers. Their son is also having a Bar Mitzvah and the one-up-manship begins. Ho hum. Thrown in the mix is the Bat Mitzvah boy who is having performance anxiety about his special day, a grandfather who returns after abandoning the family 26 years ago with his younger Vegan woman, an angry father who hates the father who abandoned him, a party planner who you want to throw in the pool and a wife and mother who has no faults. The only thing missing was a dysfunctional golden retriever.

The jokes are flat and the timing is old school vaudevillian. It is dull, poorly shot and apparently had no budget. It leaves you wanting much more than you get. Skip it. It will be on cable or on your next airplane ride in a few weeks.

Acting: Jeremy Piven doesn't stretch much as he plays an agent like on HBO's Entourage. He is pleasant but when there is no script, what's a fellow to do? Jami Gertz is sweet as the can do no wrong mother. Daryl Hannah as the Vegan only looked comfortable while in the pool. Maybe she drifted into her Splash role for a few minutes. Garry Marshall was awful as the errant grandfather. His son Scott Marshall directed this piece of crap. The kid was played by Daryl Sabara. I was unimpressed.

Predilection: I like ethnic humor and thought this would be fun. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Critters: A Jack Russell terrier in a cameo role.

Food: There should have been more food in this ethnic take off but perhaps their budget did not allow for more eating scenes. The food that was shown was brisket (mine looks better), mashed potatoes and string beans. I was eye rolling by the time the Bat Mitzvah food showed up and forgot what they served.

Opening Titles: Black background, white type.

Visual Art: The Titanic Bar Mitzvah was visually hysterical

Theater Audience: My two movie companions and a few other disappointed souls.

Sappy Factor: 3

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: I squirmed because it was so very bad.

Drift Factor: I drifted quite a bit.

Predictability Level: Over the top.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Ha!

Big Screen or Rental: Neither.

Length: 90 grueling minutes