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When Do We Eat? (R)

Release Date: April 7th, 2006 (Village East Cinemas and AMC Empire 25) by THINKFilm.
The Cast: Lesley Ann Warren, Michael Lerner, Max Greenfield, Shiri Appleby, Ben Feldman, Mili Avital, Meredith Scott Lynn, Adam Lamberg, Cynda Williams, Mark Ivanir.
Directed by Salvador Litvak.

BASIC PREMISE: The Stuckman family’s Passover Seder gets chaotic when their son, Zeke (Feldman), gives Ecstasy to his father, Ira (Lerner).

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: When Do We Eat? tries very hard to be funny and, occasionally, succeeds thanks to the comic energy of its entire cast. Just when you thought your family is crazy, meet the Stuckmans. Every one of them has their own idiosyncrasy, some of which can be rather shocking. Nikki (Appleby), their daughter, has a job as a sex therapist, which her father Ira often makes fun of by calling her a whore. Their other daughter, Jennifer (Lynn), has a lesbian, inter-racial relationship with her partner (Williams). Their son Ethan (Greenfield) has found a new love for Hassidism after a rebelling against his parents. His brother Lionel (Lamberg) has autism—or so he acts that way without talking. Finally, there’s Zeke, the son who serves as the catalyst for one of the craziest, wildest Passover Seders ever imagined. It’s funny to just watch Ira as his mind and body reacts to the power of Ecstasy. Screenwriters Salvador Litvak and Nina Davidovich include too much craziness all in one night. In some scenes, they cross into the territory of inappropriate comedy by simply going too far. Also, when the screenplay requires the characters to be serious at times, When Do We Eat? becomes awkward and contrived. Eventually, laughing atcharacters rather than with gets tiresome and too easy. Without the drugs and an uncomfortable scene involving incest, the Stuckman family would have still been just as crazy. That would have helped bring the R-rating down to a friendlier PG-13 rating. On a positive note, at least the ending isn’t as hard to believe as the ending in The Family Stone.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Other than the clichéd message that each family member should be loved and accepted along with each of their idiosyncratic flaws, When Do We Eat? has nothing insightful to offer.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None, as long as you suspend your disbelief. If you don’t, your intelligence will be insulted by almost every joke--and you might even be incorrectly led into believing that taking Ecstasy can bring you closer to your family.


IN A NUTSHELL: A hilarious, politically-incorrect comedy! However, despite comic energy from its cast, the comedy has diminishing returns as it gets more and more inappropriate, awkward and contrived.


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