DVD: The Kids Are All Right (15)

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The Independent Culture

Lisa Cholodenko's comedy drama sees two teenagers get in contact with their sperm-donor dad, whose entrance into their lives ends up seriously rocking the happy American family set-up they had with their lesbian moms.

The script is pitch-perfect in capturing certain liberal, organic, ultra-middle-class mores, and Cholodenko has a light touch in representing the lesbian parental set-up as totally normal while still mining it for comedic cringe potential. The dialogue at emotional crunch points, however, does tend towards the clunky. Happily, these are carried by brilliant performances from Annette Bening as Nic, a brittle, hard-working obstetrician who hits the red wine a little too hard, and Julianne Moore as Jules, the laid-back half of the relationship. Paul, their sperm donor and similarly easy-going type, is played by Mark Ruffalo in breezily charming mode, while the kids – Josh Hutcherson and particularly the luminous Mia Wasikowska – are just right as convincingly tentative teens.