While it may not be "serious" enough to merit such raves from anyone but little old me, I have no problems saying The Royal Tenebaums is my favorite thing to come out of Hollywood this year.
Considering I said similar things about Rushmore (although even less people were listening then), I’m pretty comfortable saying Wes Anderson is one the most fun- to- watch, interesting directors working today. Working without trend, and with an amazingly creative approach Anderson has, for me at least, delivered some of the most exciting movies of the past decade.
You can probably guess where this is going… The Royal Tenenbaums is a phenomenon. It’s funny, bittersweet, literary, swell-paced, sharply written, intensely clever and more intelligent than any American movie has the right to be. The cast is excellent. Gene Hackman is the standout, providing what, for me at least, has to be one of the best turns of his career. Not that this is a one-man show; the brothers Wilson, Ben Stiller, Angelica Huston, Danny Glover, and, most surprisingly for me since I’m normally cold to her, Gwyneth Paltrow all go balls out here, ganging up to produce as good an ensemble performance as exists. Add to that a well-chosen (and sometimes invitingly obscure) soundtrack and you’ve got a pretty accurate picture of a film that hits all of its marks and does so in a singular style.
This review was originally published in Boston's Weekly Dig (now digBoston) in December 2011.