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The Royal Tenenbaums: The Criterion Collection

A rich and soulless shyster who thinks only of himself, Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) blithely walks out on his wife Etheline (Anjelica Huston) and three prodigious children without a blink. Twenty-two years later, broke and defamed, he wants them all back. However, nursing lifelong emotions of abandonment and failure, the brilliant Tenenbaum children — now grown into eccentrically screwed-up adults (played by Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow and Luke Wilson) — are in no shape to welcome him back. Although director Wes Anderson's follow-up to his brilliant Rushmore stutters a little during its breathless (but necessary) introductory exposition, it quickly emerges as a rich, diverse, intricately funny and ultimately deeply moving story about family, self-esteem and redemption. The excellent cast, which also includes Bill Murray, co-screenwriter Owen Wilson, Danny Glover, and narrator Alec Baldwin, perfectly balances the conflicting demands of eccentricity with empathy. Buena Vista/Criterion presents Wes Anderson's excellent third film in a great 2.40:1 anamorphic transfer, with DTS, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Surround audio tracks, plus a rather subdued commentary by the director. A second disc is loaded with extra material, including extensive stills and illustration galleries, storyboards, interviews, outtakes, an IFC featurette following Anderson through the production, two excised scenes, and trailers. Dual-DVD keep-case in a paperboard sleeve.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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