CINEMA: DYSFUNCTIONING JUST FINE

FAMILY VALUES ARE OUT OF KILTER, BUT THE ECCENTRICITY IS ESSENTIAL IN DIANE KEATON'S FLAKY, CHARMING UNSTRUNG HEROES

Amid all the prim prattle about family values--a term definable only as a vague expression of nostalgia for a past that never was--the Lidz clan, dysfunctioning in Los Angeles in the 1960s, reminds us that the American home has been, often as not, a nuthouse. And that early, massive exposure to eccentricity can be the best possible preparation for the life that follows: what does not make us completely crazy makes us strong. Or at least tolerant and flexible, qualities that are largely absent from our book of virtues these days.

This lesson comes hard to 12-year-old Steven Lidz (Nathan Watt)....

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