The Cuckold's Nest

George Clooney wrangles a fractious family

Merie Wallace / Fox Searchlight

George Clooney and Shailene Woodley in a scene from The Descendants.

IDEAL FAMILY ESCAPE MOVIE

A waspish family can be cute and fun, even if hostilities are boiling over at a deathbed--such is the position of The Descendants. It's not high art, but Sideways director Alexander Payne's latest makes for an ideal holiday movie. If your clan is growing tiresome, you can escape to the more exotic woes of Hawaii attorney and land baron Matt King (George Clooney), about to cast the decisive vote in the sale of his extended family's last piece of virgin Hawaiian shore--the final legacy of their forefathers. But the real crisis is that he has to pull...