Paul Reiser, currently seen in the profane, somewhat hilarious The Aristocrats, has penned a sitcom-ish trifle that gives Peter Falk his best role in years. Unfortunately, The Thing About My Folks doesn't come close to what the veteran actor gives to this contrived, talky father-son picture.
Falk is ideally cast as Sam and Reiser is Ben. They reform a relationship after Sam tells his son, a writer, that his wife of nearly 50 years is leaving him. Ben's sisters can't understand why their parents aren't together as nothing is explained.
So, under the able direction of Raymond de Felitta (Two Family House), Ben offers comfort to pop by going house-shopping in upstate New York.
There is some unhappy discourse similar to the Jackie Gleason/Tom Hanks movie Nothing in Common.
An irate Ben reveals the feelings of his mother from a letter years ago that gets to the retired dedicated carpet salesman from Long Island.
Falk shows the talent that he's had for nearly four decades in how Sam responds to his wife's frustrations that never downgrades the character at all. Sam can be nerve-racking and sweet and de Fellitta knows how to get the veteran to open up with truthfulness that works even in silly scenes as when Ben and Sam find trouble in a sleazy tavern.
Reiser's screenplay resembles a staged twosome with Olympia Dukakis coming late as Sam's absent wife and Elizabeth Perkins' spouse of Ben - also underwritten. It's clear that Reiser wants to recapture some of his small-screen success on "Mad About You" and he's enamored with the rumpled Falk (remember Corky Romano) who is the best thing about My Folks.
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