Keeping Up With the Steins (Scott Marshall). 99 minutes. Opens Friday (May 26). For venues and times, see Movies, page 101. Rating: N Rating: N
The title would have you believe this film centres on one-upmanship. If the film stuck with this theme from the promising beginning - a ridiculously over-the-top Titanic-themed bar mitzvah complete with cocky Zach Stein calling out, "I'm king of the Torah"- it might have been funnier.
Instead, Keeping Up With The Steins follows conscience-ridden Benjamin Fiedler (Spy Kids' Daryl Sabara ) as he uses his bar mitzvah to repair the rift between dad Adam ( Jeremy Piven ) and Adam's estranged father, Irwin ( Garry Marshall , who should be arrested by the shtick police).
Scott Marshall (Garry's son), working from a lazy script by Mark Zakarin , obviously got the directing gig through nepotism. He thinks he can milk laughs from his dad's (shudder) bare ass. We're supposed to find it hysterical that Irwin left his family and Adam's still bitter. It's meant to be a riot that Irwin has a youngish New Age vegan girlfriend ( Daryl Hannah ), and Adam's wife, Joanne ( Jamie Gertz ), is serving eggs. We're supposed to grin at useless cameos by Adam Goldberg and Neil Diamond .
There are many reasons to be offended by this movie -- wasting the talent of Piven, Larry Miller , Jami Gertz and Doris Roberts ; turning what could be a satire into a soulless family film; stereotyping Jews as the greedy rich -- but its biggest problem, the one that makes it almost unwatchable, is that it just isn't funny.