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Arts & Culture Douglas Family Comes Together for Film About Dysfunctional Clan

April 21, 2003
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In his 86th year and his 86th movie, Kirk Douglas has fulfilled a long-cherished dream by uniting his clan in the film “It Runs in the Family.”

Rounding out the family is Diana Douglas, Kirk’s ex-wife and Michael’s mother, who plays the patriarch’s wife, Evelyn.

The Grombergs of Manhattan are over the top in every conceivable way. They are gratingly Jewish — Kirk sprinkles his comments with Yiddish vulgarisms, he screams out a Kaddish as he sets fire to a boat carrying the corpse of his senile brother, and for good measure, there is a family Seder from hell.

Relief comes occasionally, as in the warmly portrayed relationship between the Gromberg grandfather and his wife, and the brotherly bonds between the two grandsons.

But most of the time, the film is as dysfunctional as the Gromberg family, running off in a dozen different directions and with a convoluted plotline that defies description.

Hollywood veteran Fred Schepisi directed the film, with co-star Michael Douglas doubling as producer. “It Runs in the Family,” released by MGM and Buena Vista International, opens April 25.

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