Staying Together Review

Three teenage brothers in small-town America struggle to overcome family crises and to become men.

by Kim Newman |
Published on
Release Date:

01 Jan 1989

Running Time:

91 minutes



Original Title:

Staying Together

A picturesque small-town comes into view to the accompaniment of a clinking piano and it is indeed mind-numbing American family drama time with a vain attempt at a sensitive and caring twist. The three brothers who work in their father's restaurant are, of course, shattered when Dad a) sells up, throwing them out of work, and b) drops dead, putting the family under some serious stress.

Duncan (Astin) is the youthful cut-up who makes lousy jokes and throws up, Kit (Mulroney) is a marathon runner with a heavy passion for a girl (Daphne Zuniga) who is due to marry someone more reliable, and Brian (Quill) is the angry young man who's having an affair with a mayoral candidate (the underused Stockard Channing) but, in a happy ending, settles down decently with the friendly neighborhood dope peddler. Mom (Melinda Dillon), meanwhile, is getting up and singing with a country and western band, and Dad is lying in his grave, presumably glad to be well away from the whole thing.

On a simple plot level, nothing makes sense, and vital questions like what the family do with the money they get for the restaurant are ignored in favour of more crises, while surely only in the movies could two characters run 15 miles and then spend an energetic evening having sex in a hammock rather than soaking their feet and groaning. The big emotional finish finds the brothers falling in a pond together and shouting "We're assholes". Seems fair enough.

Although Staying Together tries real hard, this is frankly a load of old guff.
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