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Movie Review: A Lifeless Lifelines

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Of course, we all know that dysfunctional families are more interesting than ones that actually work and most families do not work well. In the case of the 2008 movie, Lifelines, we have a family of people who are not charming or eccentric in a way that is lovable. Dad stares at the bathroom wall. Mom must have her caffeine. We soon learn that daughter Meghan (Dreama Walker) has a foul mouth and a boyfriend who sneaks in her bedroom and leaves in the morning, son Spencer (Jacob Kogan) needs Ritalin, and the older brother Michael (Robbit Sublett) stutters when anxious. Maybe that's the way it works at your house and still the family goes on, but not in this one.

You might wonder if this is a teenager coming of age movie, teen romance, disease of the week movie or a diatribe against suburbia and how it kills dreams. No. That's not it.

This is a breakup movie. Mom (Jane Adams) and dad (Josh Pais) are getting divorced. So this is a divorce movie, but with a kicker: It's also a coming out movie. Dad is leaving mom for a man.

The family has a shrink, Dr. Livingston (Joe Morton). This shrink will help this family through this crisis and they will be okay. It's at the good doctor's urging that we learn that dad has been hiding his homosexuality.

Unfortunately, while there are some funny moments, for the most part I felt I had seen it all before and I didn't like any of the characters so I didn't care enough to want to share the journey with them.

This family-break up, coming out of the closet movie doesn't break any new ground although perhaps there is a need somewhere for this kind of movie, Lifelines. Otherwise, skip it.

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