The Talent Given Us
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The Talent Given Us
Fact and fiction begin to blur in this comedy drama in which a filmmaker casts his parents, his siblings, and himself in a story loosely adapted from their own lives and personalities. Judy and Allen Wagner (played by Judy Wagner and Allen Wagner) are an elderly couple living in New York City who haven't seen their son, Andrew (Andrew Wagner), in some time. Deciding it's time they paid him a visit, Judy and Allen pack up their van and head out to Los Angeles, where Andrew is trying to make a name for himself as a director and screenwriter. Along the way, Judy and Allen decide to bring… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 59%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Faux documentary, home movie or unexpurgated family therapy? The Talent Given Us, a funny, surprising ride with a mercurial New York clan, is all three."
‑ Damon Smith, Time Out New York
"What initially seems hard to watch, even excruciating at times, becomes hard not to, a fascinating fiction that seems to be more real than just about any actual documentary you can imagine."
‑ Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press
"It's a self-indulgent, utterly painful film that attempts to explore all sorts of genres, but it fails."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed
"Maybe Andrew Wagner was hoping they would be endearingly human, but instead they come off as annoying, hardly the type of people we want to be stuck with for an hour and a half."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
"Andrew Wagner's deeply original, awe-inspiring The Talent Given Us defies classification, another mongrel marvel traducing the boundaries of documentary and fiction."
‑ Ray Pride, Newcity
"The notion that there is no escape from one's family is elevated-and ameliorated-by the inkling that the Wagners' story is, in fact, real."
‑ Shauna Lyon, New Yorker
"If you enjoy HBO's cult hit Curb Your Enthusiasm, you're almost guaranteed to enjoy this bawdy, heartbreaking, deeply discomfiting mockumentary."
‑ Jessica Reaves, Chicago Tribune
"The ranting, whining, kvetching, self-involved family begins to outstay its welcome [...] so that time spent with them can feel like entrapment at a raucous bar mitzvah reception."
‑ Doris Toumarkine, Film Journal International
"The result is a funny and sometimes touching docu-comedy, sort of like watching your parents if they were in the middle of a Woody Allen movie."
‑ Sean Means, Salt Lake Tribune
"Deftly embraces some of the trademarks of documentary and cinema verité (using handheld cameras and non-actors, and shooting all on location) to effectively blur fact and fiction."
‑ Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey, Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
"Ultimately, the movie isn't as strong as the idea behind the movie, or the people inside that idea."
‑ Tom Long, Detroit News
"A brave, funny, affecting film."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"The unwashed talent and originality of "The Talent Given Us" makes it a compelling and fascinating film."
‑ Robin Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"[A] one-of-a-kind movie that sends the family road-trip genre happily spinning into these self-obsessed, overanalytical times; it's National Lampoon's Vacation as re-imagined by Dr. Phil."
‑ Christopher Kelly, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
"It's tough to describe The Talent Given Us, which is why it's fascinating."
‑ Chris Hewitt (St. Paul), St. Paul Pioneer Press
More reviews for The Talent Given Us on Rotten Tomatoes