Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

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The royal Douglases

By BILLY NORRIS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 28, 2003

A couple of Douglases
[Photo: MGM]
Michael Douglas, left, plays son to to real-life father Kirk Douglas in It Runs in the Family. The film, directed by Michael Douglas, also stars his son, Cameron Douglas, and his mother, Diana Douglas.

Movie: It Runs in the Family

Rating: PG-13

Summary: The Grombergs are a dysfunctional Jewish family living in New York City. While dealing with their family traditions, all of them (Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle, Mom, Dad and both sons) have pent-up feelings about each other that seem to burst out all at once. They are attempting to resolve the conflicts, but it seems as though things are getting worse. The story mainly focuses on the three main male characters, Grandpa (Kirk Douglas), Dad (Michael Douglas) and elder son Asher (Cameron Douglas), and their attempts to reconcile their stark differences and mutual qualms.

My view: This movie strongly reminded me of The Royal Tenenbaums, another fairly recent family-issues film. It has generally the same idea, but the cast in Family is extra special. Having four members of the real Douglas family (the fourth being Diana Douglas as Grandma) really does the film justice. It gives the movie a dose of reality that only a real family could, adding tremendously to the quality and believability. It also mimicked reality, such as Grandpa having a speech impediment because of a recent stroke. Kirk Douglas was left with a speech impediment after a stroke several years ago. The remainder of the cast (including Rory Culkin as younger son Eli) does a fine job as well, so much so that I thought that a couple of them were real Douglases. Early on, the movie drags mildly as the plot is being set up and expounded, yet the pace picks up shortly thereafter. Michael Douglas also produced the film; I guess you could call this a one-family show. This isn't one of my favorites, but I did like it.

Recommendations: The presence of drugs and sexuality is fairly strong, and it really toes the line of an R rating. It's also not the type of film that will appeal to everyone. It was at times very funny but also very sad. I'll recommend it to those of you who liked Moonlight Mile (ages 14 and up).

Grade: B

- Billy Norris, 15, is in ninth grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

Here's the rest of today's Xpress

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  • IT!
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  • Movie Review
  • The royal Douglases

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