“Everybody’s Fine,” an unabashed tear-jerker of wandering form and narrative, is definitely one of two things: an OK film that only those with age and experience will appreciate, or simply a horrendous conception that is stock, sterile holiday Hollywood fare at its worst. It certainly seems to be leaning toward the latter.
At Quality 16 and Showcase
The film stars the venerable Robert De Niro in another of the many forgettable roles that have characterized the last decade or so of his career. De Niro plays Frank, an old widower trying to get in touch with his children after the passing of his wife. But — as those needing to learn life lessons in forgettable holiday films often are — his kids are too busy with big-city jobs and problems to care for their poor, lonely father.
Frank wanders from town to town, discovering things about his kids he never knew and maybe learning some lessons of his own. This makes for a grim, stale and downright boring journey that is foremost an exercise in cinematic incompetence. Though audiences generally buy into sappy holiday films, that simply cannot happen here; so little is the film’s regard for its audience’s patience and common sentiment.
A disjointed disaster, “Everybody’s Fine” may score a couple of smiles from the Medicare crowd, but even they know a decided dud when they see one.