Kathleen Turner stars as suburban mother and devout Catholic Eileen Cleary, who has always kept up appearances. When she runs for the Catholic Woman of the Year title at her local parish, her final test is introducing her family to the board for the seal of approval. Now she must finally face the nonconformist family she has been glossing over for years...
Watching this film, Karl Marx's decree "religion is the opium of the people" kept galloping through my mind; religion can be addictive, controlling, destructive, resulting in anything but perfection.
Kathleen Turner is "Eileen Cleary", nominated for "Catholic Woman of the Year"; her every neurotic breath is informed by her obsessive/compulsive desire to follow the rules of the Church, eventually attaining perpetual forgiveness, cleansing of her tarnished soul. Turner (sadly missing all shades of the siren in "Body Heat") gives a genuine performance of a woman locked in archaic conventions; desperately trying to shape her twenty-first century children into nineteenth century molds of tradition. After the New Testament, running a close second, is the over-indulged mantra of "cleanliness is next to godliness"; unfortunately, no matter how tenaciously she prays or vacuums, her son will not be less- divorced or her daughter less -gay.
A "host" of placid, one-dimensional characters rob the film of any depth or adhesive power.
Devoted, dedicated Catholics will writhe with justified ire, when in a heated argument Eileen screams "I don't have to think, I am a Catholic".
All prayed for a "final conclusion", not caring a hoot whether she wins the Catholic Woman of the Year award; her competition was a vindictive, mean-spirited, snipe of a woman. The hierarchy are painted in beige, barely human hues.
I did like the end of "The Perfect Family" but not enough to redeem the pain of having to view such drivel; on the plus side, in the witnessing process, sins of the past, present and future have been expunged.
ONE & 1/2 STARS!
Caveat: Being self-employed has its advantages, there is not enough money in my zip code to induce me to see "Dark Shadows" or " Whatever Happened to Johnny Depp?"