Inventing The Abbotts (1997)

Produced by Ron Howard and with a starry cast, I had high hopes for Inventing The Abbotts even though I hadn’t read much about it. Was I right to have such high expectations?

Brothers J.C (Billy Crudup) and Doug (Joaquin Phoenix) live with their single mother (Kathy Baker) in a small town in 1950s Illinois. their lives have been intertwined with that of the rich Abbott family and their daughters Alice (Joanna Going), Eleanor (Jennifer Connolly) and Pam (Liv Tyler). While J.C is grows increasingly obsessed with the Abbotts and what he believes to be injustice in his life, younger brother Doug is falling for Pam. But with so many complications between their families can they ever get together?

This film begins promisingly, a good cast, simmering tension beneath the surface and a good-looking film makes you hope for the best. However while the cast do their best to hold your attention they are weighed down by a plot that becomes increasingly tedious. J.C anger against the Abbotts is interesting to start with but his actions become repetitive and boring. I kept thinking “Just get over it already.” It also felt his issues could have been sorted out earlier if he had just an honest conversation with his mother over her history with the Abbotts.

Doug is a bit dull and his on again off again relationship with Pam becomes just as boring as J.C antics. Again you feel everyone would have been better off if they just communicated a bit better and stop being such jerks. The whole ‘rich father having a problem with his daughters’ poor boyfriend’ storyline is also unoriginal and lacks any proper drama. The Abbott sisters are also thinly drawn, basically just there as pawns and objects of desire for the leading men.

A disappointing and mediocre film overall.

Rating 2/5 – the cast may hold some appeal but ultimately this film is too dull to hold an audience’s attention

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