Real-estate re-developer Stewart McBain gets into hot water when a beloved ugly building makes his list for destruction, to the dismay of protesters. Forced into an unfavorable television appearance and subsequently ridiculed by his snotty nosed bunch of brats, Stewart has enough and sends them to live in the building and fend for themselves.
When Dad (Coleman), a hard-nosed demolitions expert, forces his useless, spoilt kids to live in a near-derelict house on one of his building sites so they can learn about cash-free living, it is, of course, time for a moral lesson. If only it were a more interesting one.
Instead, after some predictable and very minor hardships, the dreary Daphne, Chloe and Jimmy get their combined shit together, while dad - surprise, surprise -suffers a corresponding downfall. That's the slight fable which British renegade director John Boorman serves up here, and as far as it goes, it's alright. Coleman is on customary excellent form as the curmudgeon with a stick of dynamite in each hand ("I have a high explosive license and a vengeful nature") and there's sound support from an almost unrecognisable Christopher Plummer as the tramp Shitty who looks - and acts - like he's just walked off the set of Waiting For Godot. Joanna Cassidy is, however, completely wasted as Coleman's weepy wife, and only Thurman manages to endear and annoy - something her dull friends and siblings never do.
This leaves Tirana Woollard's extraordinary body paintings which are featured throughout as the real stars of the movie. By painting bodies and then painting them into landscapes, Woollard manages to create images that linger long after the memory of this disappointingly inconsequential offering has drifted by.
Not to be mixed up with the Natalie Portman vehicle of the same name from 2000, though many of the sentiments are duplicated.
A mediocre offering which seems to try to parody itself.