Nothing's Unclear About "Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding" - It's Just a Terrible, Clichéd Mess Review

Stereotypes and clichés exist because they work, and yet using them as the not just the framework but the substance of a film, without any sense of irony, guarantees it will fail. It implies that a filmmaker didn’t so much create his characters and story but copied them from previous works and relied on the safety of past success to carry their film as well. For a perfect example of this you need but find a copy of Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding by Director Bruce Beresford who squanders a generational drama filled to the brim with outstanding talent like Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, Elizabeth Olsen, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan with clichéd characterizations and a story so obvious and reliant on coincidence that it becomes an embarrassment for everyone involved.

Amidst her newly announced divorce, Diane (Keener) packs her son Jake (Nat Wolff) and daughter Zoe (Olsen) into the stationwagon and set off for Woodstock to spend some time with her mother (Fonda). Diane’s free-spirited mother still lives like every day is Woodstock amongst a group of similarly minded men and women, and she introduces Diane to the town’s eligible bachelor Jude (Morgan), who challenges Diane’s ingrained combative nature. Meanwhile her kids pursue loves of their own, only to have all of the relationships, by some extraordinary coincidence, reach a pivotal point on the same night.

Writers Joseph Muszynski and Christina Mengert took every stereotypical character they could get their hands on (the outraged vegetarian, the uptight lawyer, the nerdy filmmaker wannabe, the speaks-her-mind grandma, etc.) and didn’t add a thing. They all spout the same lines we’ve heard from such characters time and time again, and their confrontations with the realities they each find hard to accept come as a shock to them but as predictable moments we knew were coming from the moment they stepped foot in a hippie grandma’s home.

This is how you waste an incredible cast with a subpar story. The performances all around are fine, it’s the sophomoric philosophies and antique sentiments they throw around that drag the film into tedium. Everyone should skip Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding.

Blu-ray Bonus features:

A brief production featurette and the film’s trailer are the only extras.

"Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding" is on sale October 2, 2012 and is rated R. Comedy, Drama. Directed by Bruce Beresford. Written by Joseph Muszynski, Christina Mengert. Starring Catherine Keener, Elizabeth Olsen, Jane Fonda, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Nat Wolff.

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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