One of the greatest disconnects I've ever had between consensus response to a movie and my own reaction was in 1995 when Jodie Foster's second film, Home for the Holiday debuted. It was mostly ignored by the public and the critics were out for blood. Maybe Jodie Foster had just been too successful and too lauded and it was time for the pendulum to swing back? Perhaps the undercurrent was along the lines of 'Does she have to be good at making movies in addition to acting in them?'
Even Robert Downey Jr playing Tommy got bad reviews for his performance. He was gay brother to Holly Hunter's Claudia. Though his performance is pretty out there, that needling rapid fire joking -- he's consistently pushing things too far -- is exactly in line with the movie's own sense of humor. Bonus points: the sibling chemistry between Claudia and Tommy is pretty damn credible.
If you're not familiar with the movie I urge you to rent it. You protest: But it's one of thousands of quirky dysfunctional family holiday comedies! I counter: it arrived before that ultra specific genre was wildly over saturated and it's actually very funny.
Holly's shower scene is fairly typical of the movies fast, funny and familial nature. Anne Bancroft, playing Adele the mother, is talking at Claudia but not really with her. Claudia is talking at Adele but not listening. They're on different pages and both of them don't shut up. The older woman exits the scene leaving her daughter showering in an open bathroom.
Mom, close the door behind you okay?I don't need to tell you that Holly Hunter is one of the funniest people in the movies and she was still in her incredible prime (roughly 1987-1998). She makes every pause and emphasis count in a line reading. So many laughs to be had in four sentences. After Claudia is done complaining about the unplanned exhibitionism, she gets down to business. She's vigorously shampooing, suds flying, until she freezes in place with a gasp. Her mischievous brother is lumbering towards the shower curtain like some comic monster.
No? okay, no problem, I usually shower in public.
I have no pride.
I have no rights.
I'm only four years old.
I swear to god, Tommy, I'm naked in here and I am too old...
Holly's blind recoil from the flash is the split second punchline and Foster immediately cuts to the next scene, no time to waste... more rapid fire joking to follow.