Keeping Up With the Steins

Opens at Metro, Fri., June 9. Rated PG-13. 84 minutes.

The Steins of Brentwood held their son's bar mitzvah celebration on an ocean liner at sea, with party sets modeled after the movie Titanic—how do you top that? Such is the dilemma facing Hollywood agent Adam Fiedler (Jeremy Piven), whose son, Benjamin (Spy Kids' Daryl Sabara), isn't sure that his dad's plan for a Dodger Stadium extravaganza is the best way to go. Although first-time director Scott Marshall and screenwriter Mark Zakarin nimbly satirize West L.A. excess, Keeping Up is actually more of a valentine to Jewish family life—one that goes down a lot sweeter than the recent, similarly themed When Do We Eat? Marshall is the nephew of actor-director Penny Marshall (Laverne & Shirley to Awakenings) and the son of TV producer–movie director Garry Marshall (Happy Days to Pretty Woman), who here gives a funny, surprisingly restrained performance as Adam's long-lost father, a man with a knack for cutting to the heart of the Talmudic teachings that have Benjamin so tongue-tied. As director, Scott Marshall displays an unsurprising flair for selling a joke, but also a fine sense of dramatic pacing and, even better, a gift for brevity, neither of which, it could be argued, are innate skills of his famous filmmaking family.

 
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