And When Did You Last See Your Family
Have you heard the one about the Rabbi, the Buddhist, the Environmentalist and the Capitalist? Yes that sounds like a joke and in a way "Reuniting the Rubins" is meant to be funny with a father trying to unite his diverse and bickering children for a Jewish festival but unfortunately a lot of the humour misfires. But then "Reuniting the Rubins" has another side, a more sentimental side about bringing together children at war with each other and if you have grown up in a home where you don't see eye to eye with your siblings it does make you think.
Having retired Lenny Rubin (Timothy Spall - The Damned United) is looking forward to an around the world cruise except his mother has other ideas and manipulates him into agreeing to try and bring his diverse children together before it is too late and she passes. That is easier said that done when there is so much bad feeling between his 3 sons and daughter especially as they have gone their separate ways with one becoming a capitalist, another a Rabbi, another a Buddhist monk and his daughter is an environmentalist in the Congo trying to protect the locals from people like her capitalist brother.
The thing about "Reuniting the Rubins" is that the setup of this diverse family, tired Lenny who wants a quiet life and his pushy mum sounds like a joke. And to be honest there is a lot of humour throughout the movie from Lenny's typically pushy mother manipulating him to his capitalist son Danny having a problem with too many Rubins in his home. But so much of the humour misfires that it is never the comedy that you initially expect it to be.
What that means if that "Reuniting the Rubins" is more of a sentimental movie which aims to make the audience open their eyes to the petty squabbles which divide a family. That is all well and good if you have experienced that element of sibling warfare where you can't bare to be in the same room as each other because then it does make you realise that there are things more important in life and when push comes to shove family comes first. But if you haven't had that issue then I am sure this side of the movie will misfire as much as the humour. Now I have experienced that side of family life and whilst "Reuniting the Rubins" is less than subtle when it comes to getting across its message you can appreciate what it was aiming to achieve.
Now when it comes to the acting it is a bit strange because whilst I didn't get Honor Blackman as the Gran the rest of the cast worked from Timothy Spall as the troubled father to Rhona Mitra as his environmentalist daughter. But the problem for me is the characters because they never seem quite right, not extreme enough to be funny yet to funny to be normal. It is why the humour often misfires because the characters themselves are not right rather than the actual acting.
What this all boils down to is that "Reuniting the Rubins" is entertaining but not because it is funny but because it does a reasonable job of exploring sibling rivalry and bad blood in an easy going manner. It is the sort of movie which to me only works if you have experienced that level of family bitterness that you would rather not be in the same room as your sibling.