Unstable characters and deceitful genres make it a tough family to like.
|The problems with “Mighty Fine” begin with the genre. Let’s make this clear, it’s not the comedy it was advertised as. There are a few moments and lines at the beginning that aren’t as serious and fairly humorous, but it’s a drama. The plot quickly devolves into a full-on family drama with serious issues where the characters need to rely on their internal strength to rise above.||2012 |
Directed by: Debbie Goodstein
Screenplay by: Debbie Goodstein
Starring: Chazz Palminteri, Rainey Qualley, Jodelle Ferland and Andie MacDowell
Joe Fine (Chazz Palminteri) moves his whole family from Brooklyn to New Orleans in 1974, and literally he moves them since he didn’t tell them in advance. Surprise! Oddly most of the characters don’t see anything wrong with that. The other main member of the Fine clan is Maddie (Rainey Qualley) she’s the one that doesn’t think this is quite right and is the only one we can understand, care for and sympathize with. The younger daughter, Natalie (Jodelle Ferland), is fine too but she’s much younger and more care free.
The father has money, status and other similar issues. He has a need to provide for his family and if that is ever in jeopardy he becomes increasingly unstable, violent and erratic. It unfortunately was probably a common characteristic among war vets of the era. And that’s why I have such a problem with this being classified as a comedy. The story will apply to other families and it’s not likely something they want to relive as a light-hearted laugh-fest! I wonder if Adopt Films would be willing to pay for their therapy afterwards? I doubt it.
Now that you’re fairly warned about the dramatic issues explored, we can take a look at the characters. The teenage daughters were good characters, likable, which is pretty important and the young actresses were good (including Andie MacDowell’s daughter Rainey Qualley). Palminteri gives a forceful performance but don’t expect him to veer too far from his mobster typecast roots.
The poorest realized character was the “mother”. That word goes in quotation marks because I feel sorry for anybody who was “raised” by that character. She’s not a terrible person, she’s just not a person. MacDowell put on a terrible European accent and paraded around the house parroting everything that her unstable, deceitful and volatile husband said. She made no sense and was completely void of reasonable emotion.
Thankfully “Mighty Fine” is pretty short and eventually the daughters become their own role models, but even just something pleasant would have been helpful in getting us there.