‘The Thing About My Folks’


Paul Reiser claims he wrote The Thing About My Folks to honor his favorite actor, Peter Falk. It’s a noble goal, but surely there are better ways to celebrate the man’s work than by sticking him in an embarrassingly unfunny film and asking him to deliver three fart jokes, two piss jokes, and a pool cue to the groin. Falk plays Sam Kleinman, who takes an impromptu road trip with son Ben (Reiser) after his wife of 47 years suddenly leaves him. Screenwriter Reiser proposes that a lifetime of neglect can be corrected by a well-selected greeting card: an appropriate message for a film that asks us to slog through 75 turgid minutes for a moving final act. Falk isn’t given anything funny to say or do, but his performance is littered with beautiful touches, tiny oases of brilliance in an entertainment desert. Still, as quickly as they arrive, perfect moments like Sam’s first drag off a cigarette in years are immediately ruined by Reiser, needless bar fights, and Tim McGraw singing “I like it, I love it, I want some more of it.” Wrong on all three counts.

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