Dir; Laura Steiner. Starring; Taylor Schilling, Bryn Vale, Kate McKinnon. R. Color. 85 min.
Let’s be honest. Those who attend the “Gathering of the Juggalos” are f-ing weird. What is a Juggalo you might ask? It is a group of people that attend the annual multi-day concert created by the late 90’s off shoot band the Insane Clown Posse, or ICP. Imagine Woodstock minus the ‘peace and love’, or so we are lead to believe. “Family”, written and directed by Laura Steinel, makes a strong case that Juggalo’s are no more insane than the rest of us.
Kate Stone (Taylor Schilling from ‘Orange is the New Black’ fame) is a tight ass executive at a well established New Jersey hedge fund. Her employees hate her which she does not quite understand despite making jokes about a co-worker who is throwing away her career by getting pregnant. Her entire life is about money and deadlines.
Her brother Joe (Eric Edelstein) lives in the burbs’ with his wife Cheryl (Allison Tolman) and daughter Maddie (Bryn Vale). When Cheryl’s mother has to be moved into hospice care, Kate gets a phone call from her estranged brother to babysit her niece for a night. Kate doesn’t even know the girl’s name, but reluctantly agrees.
Kate picks up the awkward Maddie while she’s kicking ass at karate class of all places. The instructor tries to get Kate to pay for a proper uniform. The annoyance of a person who survives because she doesn’t have time for annoyances begins.
It does not end there. The tyranical soccer-mom-in-a-bottle neighbor Jill (Kate McKinnon) will not stop complaining about Kate leaving the garage door open. Just as Kate thinks this nightmare of responsibility is over her brother calls and says it will take a few days to move out the mother-in-law. Now she must juggle, pun intended, the kid and work.
Executives notice her slipping and with up and coming low-level interns sniping for her job Kate accidentally leaves Maddie at a gas station. It is there that Maddie meets Dennis a.k.a. Baby Joker (Fabrizio Zacharee Guido). A desperate teenage boy who doesn’t know what the word hormones even means, he attracts Maddie towards how cool the Insane Clown Posse are. They’re motto; “Better respect or suck a dick”. Real family friendly stuff.
Auntie Kate eventually shows back up and brings Maddie home. At least she isn’t totally absent, only for a few hours. A non-prototypical definition of beauty, Maddie continues to get into arguments and fights at school, culminating in a conflict that brings in her karate instructor Pete (Brian Tyree Henry) to the principals office. Pete and Kate form a bond centered around the troubled youth after the incident.
Struggling to understand the world, Maddie goes rogue with her gas station buddy to attend the ICP concert. Just in time for Kate’s brother and sister-in-law to come back home. An admittedly cliche as hell final act, which includes the artists themselves and an on stage concert speech, Kate discovers what is really important and Maddie accepts herself.
Do not expect new territory story wise here. Instead, expect a slice of life that is genuine. We all love laughing at weird or redneck style videos on shows like MTV’s “Ridiculousness”. The question is, are the ‘weird’ kids any more out of their minds than the ‘perfect’ kids? The 20th annual “Gathering of the Juggalos” continues to take place. While not my thing, live your best life. To present one example, any football fan who thinks being a Juggalo is wrong, please allow us to show you a mirror while a giant blue star for the Dallas Cowboys is painted on your face after paying two grand for tickets. That is the mentality “Family” has.
Suck Factor: 2out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)
Written by Byrd
The SUCK FACTOR, how it works. We have flipped the rating system upside down. If a film is classic, it gets a 0. Meaning that movie has 0 SUCKS. If a film is complete trash you must avoid at all costs, it gets a 7, meaning this movie really SUCKS!