Olyesa Rulin as Emily Smith-Dungy wins her jump-roping competition, but where is her family to share in her triumph?
When everyone in her family forgets about coming to see her jumping in her school’s jump-roping championship competition and misses seeing her win to advance to the upcoming state championships, in spite of her leaving reminder notes posted everywhere around the house for them, Emily Smith-Dungy decides that it is time for an intervention, and thus begins the new movie from ARC Entertainment, “Family Weekend”. Emily, played by Olyesa Rulin is a 16 year old uber-achiever who has reached her breaking point with her parents’ lack of parental support and guidance.
At a rare family sit down together meal, Emily drugs her parents for an intervention.
Her mom, Samantha, played by Kristin Chenoweth is a high-powered, driven business executive who has no time for her family because she is the sole breadwinner of the family since the dad, Duncan, played by Matthew Modine is a happy go-lucky free-spirited artist who sleeps more than he paints. Shirley Jones, known as “GeeGee” is Emily’s hippie flower-child grandmother who does not get along with the no-nonsense daughter-in-law who keeps criticizing her darling son.
Mom and Dad are tied up and must listen to their frustrated daughter’s demands.
When you add in Chloe Bridges as Emily’s rival nosey neighbor Kat, and Eddie Hassell as her flamingly homosexual brother Jackson, as well as Joey King as eccentric sister Lucinda and Robbie Tucker as the photographic memory blessed brother, Mickey, you have a recipe for a hilarious weekend of one bad situation leading to another, but Emily stays her course, refusing to give up. After drugging her parents at dinner, which the family can’t remember eating together the last time, Emily ties them and tapes them to roll-around office chairs and proclaims martial law until they promise not to miss her jumping in the state championships!
Shirley Jones is perfectly cast as GeeGee, who is essentially Mom Partridge (from The Partridge Family) grown up and retired as a product of the 60’s. Given some of the ridiculous situations the actors were put through in the making of this movie, I can only imagine how many takes some of the scenes must have taken before they could stop laughing during the filming. “Family Weekend” is good light-hearted entertainment with something for everyone. It is in theaters March 29th and will be available on DVD April 23rd.
by Carlin Langley for Cinemit
Kristin Chenoweth has accomplished far more than anyone would ever dream possible given her 4 foot 11 inch stature, but she is a dynamic powerhouse whether she is performing on the small screen, such as on Glee or last years G.C.B, or on stage as Glinda in Wicked, or on the big screen as she is in the upcoming film “Family Weekend”. At a recent press conference she was her usual bubbly effervescent persona in spite of still suffering from the horrible accident on the set of the TV show, “The Good Wife” last year when she was hit by a piece blown from a sidewalk shed, cracking her skull and sending her to the hospital.
Kristin appeared with her co-star from the movie, Olyesa Rulin who plays the main character, Emily Smith-Dungy who is an incredibly motivated uber-achiever and jump-roping champion at her school. Olyesa had to train for 4 grueling months in order to perform the jump-roping sequences which the movie is based upon. She said, “At night, even during the filming, when everyone else was going off to go to bed or out for some fun, I still had two hours of training to do in order to maintain the jump-roping skills for the competition scenes.” Kristin added, “She’s right! When we would all be done for the day, she was still going at it!”
“Family Weekend” is about a family which has become torn in many directions due to each member of the family being allowed to pursue their own obsessions with no interest or concerns over anyone else’s. They were asked if either of them had dysfunctional families in their own personal lives. Kristin was quick to answer, “Oh I wouldn’t say that! I grew up in a small town and my family was always there for me when I really needed them to be. But recently, I did feel a pang of guilt when I wasn’t able to be there for my niece’s graduation due to a snowstorm that prevented me from reaching Denver in time. I think it is important to be there for those important times and I hated it that I missed being there for her.” Olyesa responded, “My family was highly medicated! Normal, but highly medicated! My family is like one of those kaleidoscopes with all of the different colors that, when everything falls somehow into place, is just beautiful. I never heard ‘No!’ when I was growing up. They were always there to support me in everything I ever wanted to do, no matter what it was.”
When asked what their 3 obsessions were in their own lives, Kristin said, “Real Housewives of anywhere! I love those shows! Hillbilly Handfishing- I want to try that!” Olyesa chimed in, “Is that where they stick their hand down in the water in the catfish’s mouth to catch the fish? Oh yes! I’m totally down for that! I’d love to try that too!” Kristin then jokingly said, “My third obsession would be drinking my own blood or urine I guess. I can’t think of any!” Olyesa said, “Mine would be blogs- other people’s blogs! I love to read them to see what other people are doing in their lives. And I guess I’m kind of strange, because I like to write letters. Real letters, with pen and paper! I’ve had a penpal in France that I’ve been writing to for seven years and I really enjoy getting his letters and writing back to him. I can’t think of a third one either.”
I asked Kristin, “With your amazing operatic voice in addition to your stage career, and acting on TV and in films, you’re more than the proverbial triple threat. But which one of the Kristins is your favorite one? The singing one or stage, TV or film actor?” She said, “I’d have to say I prefer my singing in concerts, because that’s where I’m just being me. I’m not acting like anyone else and I know everyone there is there just to see me! My brother made the comment to me when I performed a concert once, ‘Wow! All these people actually paid just to come see you?’ and I said, ‘Yes they did!’
I also asked her if she had drawn upon her character she had played in the ABC show G.C.B. last year for the bitchiness that she portrayed in this movie since it went so much against her usual sweet genuine personality. She said, “I really enjoyed playing that character in G.C.B. and I played it with someone who I knew in my real life, who shall remain nameless, for obvious reasons! But yeah, I’d say there are some similarities between the two characters.
After the press conference was finished, I had the occasion to ask Kristin a couple more questions. I asked her if she was going to be returning to “GLEE!” and she said, “From your lips to God’s ears! I hope so! I would really like that!” I told her that we (her fans) were very glad that she hadn’t been more seriously hurt in her accident last year. She said, “Why thank you! I was hurt pretty badly though! It cracked my head! I mean LITERALLY cracked my head! I had a one inch crack in my skull! Even now, if I don’t have makeup on covering it, you can still see some bruising here around my nose.” I said, “Yeah, I saw you on Kelly’s show and I know you were hurt worse than anyone was letting on.” and she replied, “Yeah, that was my first appearance after the accident. I’m almost back to normal and I’m slowly getting there!”