In her work as both writer and director (High Art
, Laurel Canyon
), Lisa Cholodenko appears to have exactly one dramatic scenario up her sleeve—the pansexual fallout that ensues when a seemingly happy couple's relationship is exposed to a charismatic interloper. The Kids Are All Right
is a fairly satisfying family comedy-drama that could have provided a break from that theme—and it's only because Cholodenko seems so attached to it that the film misses a chance to be something special. Here, her two-mommies Southern California household is headed by Nic (Annette Bening), a Type-A OB-GYN, and Jules (Julianne Moore), a less grounded sort working on her latest career change. Disruption arrives when son Laser (Josh Hutcherson) decides he wants to meet the guy who provided half his genes. Despite the title, the youngsters don't seem to interest the filmmaker. The Kids Are All Right
may be Cholodenko's attempt to show that the bumps and bruises of a gay marriage are just like those in a straight marriage, but that only means she's telling too familiar a story. With Mark Ruffalo and Mia Wasikowska.