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Diane Keaton's first fictional feature suggests that early, massive exposure to eccentricity can be the best possible preparation for the life that follows. This lesson comes hard to 12-year-old Steven Lidz (Nathan Watt), whose mother Selma (Andie MacDowell) is dying slowly and bravely of cancer. His cranky, obsessive father Sid (John Turturro) is of little consolation. It's up to Sid's kooky brothers Danny (Michael Richards of Seinfeld) and Arthur (Maury Chaykin) to get Steven safely through his first encounters with mortality and onrushing manhood. "Helped by terrific acting and Richard La Gravenese's wonderfully modulated script, Keaton gets us safely through a movie that could turn to mush at any moment," says TIME's Richard Schickel. "The hard-hearted excepted, most will be charmed by the minor-key of this very seductive movie."