'The Family Tree' Critic Reviews
New York Times
The only reason I can think of to watch Vivi Friedman's flat, satirical farce "The Family Tree" - and it's not a good enough reason - is the opportunity to play a game of spot the semi-star.
[It makes] a small case for not succumbing to nostalgic malaise -- too bad it's in a genre as played-out as [the] lead characters' passion.
New York Daily News
To judge from the talent she drew for her shaky debut, Vivi Friedman must either be very well connected or an awfully smooth talker.
New York Post
"Mad Men" devotees may show up for Christina Hendricks, who plays Mulroney's buxom secretary. Quite the acting stretch.
Los Angeles Times
Friedman's inability to successfully reconcile the film's duality undercuts an eclectic cast gamely committed to Mark Lisson's thematically ambitious, if scattered, script.
We Got This Covered
The Family Tree is a surprisingly funny dysfunctional family comedy that manages to entertain throughout.
Reel Film Reviews
...a misguided and thoroughly obnoxious piece of work that wears out its welcome almost immediately.
Jackie K. Cooper
There are too many branches on this tree trying to give every unemployed actor in Hollywood a job.
So in the end what we are presented with is a mildly affable comedy of familial dysfunction that wants to chide the times for being both morally and emotionally obtuse. Instead, The Family Tree winds up being little more than a film uprooted.
The Family Tree is never willing to try and really understand its family, instead creating wall of surface-level quirks as shorthand for their personalities.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice
Another around-the-bend black comedy that doesn't work.
New York Press
Like the body of a peeping tom high school student that hangs hidden in the Burnett's tree for the duration of the film, the direction of the movie remains dangling over audiences.
Film Journal International
This black comedy about a dysfunctional family strikes out on all counts: originality, wit and viewer tolerance.
Here's a film that consists of a hodgepodge of blah. Too many subplots are crammed into this dramedy that leaves little for emotion or laughter.
Think Overboard with masturbating, asphyxiated teens, gun-toting/weed-smoking priests, lesbian high school teachers preying on her students, a parade of wasted talent, and Bow Wow.
Television Without Pity
Davis could play a role like Bunnie in her sleep, Mulroney often seems to be asleep and the rest of the overqualified supporting cast just appears relieved that their screentime is limited.
fresh and engaging...and quite funny
There's not much dramatic glue here to huff, leaving The Family Tree satisfying on a technical level, with external developments more captivating than internal deliberation.
The Burnett clan manages to encompass virtually every cliche of any dramedy made in the last decade that has garnered or hoped to garner Oscar buzz.
It has a terrific cast of actors doing committed work; it also has a screenplay that tries so hard to be quirky that it tires itself out.