Time Out saysFour LA families prepare for Thanksgiving. Well-off African-American Audrey Williams (Woodard) wants an elegant dinner with fare like shiitake and oyster mushroom stuffing, but her meddling mother-in-law's macaroni also fights for table space, while her son's antagonism further strains her crumbling marriage. Recently separated Elizabeth Avila (Ruehl) prepares an Hispanic feast, though she hasn't anticipated the presence of her new lover and her estranged husband. Vietnamese Trinh Nguyen (Chen), livening up a bird with East Asian spice, is disappointed that her kids prefer McDonald's, but saddened mostly by the absence of her eldest. The Seeligs try to accept their daughter's lesbianism, but they still wish she'd married a nice Jewish boy, while praying she'll pass her girlfriend off as a 'room-mate'. This is a studied representation of races and cultures, generational differences and changing notions of family, co-written and directed by Gurinder Chadha (Bhaji on the Beach) with humour and insight. The performances are uniformly well judged; Ruehl and Chen exude their customary class, while Sedgwick and Margulies provide a non-stereotypical portrayal of a lesbian relationship. A pity, then, that the film can't suppress an occasional tendency to dispaly its political correctness in neon.
Cast and crew
Kyra Sedgwick, Dennis Haysbert, Eric K George, Brittany Jean Henry, Maria Carmen, Joan Chen, Kristy Wu, Lainie Kazan, Julianna Margulies, Maury Chaykin, Will Yun Lee, François Chau, Mercedes Ruehl, Victor Rivers, Douglas Spain, Alfre Woodard