The Descendants

Director: Alexander Payne
Year Released: 2011
Rating: 2.0

Hawaiian lawyer/land owner (George Clooney), after his wife goes into a coma following a water-skiing accident (I know, I know, it's really serious), 'reassesses' his life: he reconnects with his bratty daughters, he investigates why his wife cheated on him, he weighs whether or not to develop land and reap riches. Payne pulled this same schmaltzy shtick with About Schmidt, and once again when he goes for the poignant it comes across as being awkward: he can't balance the Light and the Heavy all that well and ends up straddling both in Tonal Hell. Clooney's character is essentially a workaholic wimp, which tries on the nerves (his daughters curse at him and boss him around and he weakly tries to discipline him): when all is "resolved" at the conclusion, his 'virility' is still in question (he wraps his legs in his daughter's blanket). He doesn't change, he merely accepts, and this limps towards pathos without ever reaching it.