: A surprising romance kicks off comic consequences for a young woman (Joey King), her mother (Nicole Kidman) and her movie star boss (Zac Efron) as they face the complications of love, sex, and identity.


A Family Affair marks the screen reunion of Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron after their infamous stingray encounter in the Lee Daniels’ drama, The Paperboy which was released in 2012. Hopefully, we hope we won’t need to wait another 12 years before we can see both of them in a more note-worthy rom-com.

It’s the season of May-December love as we just caught the Amazon release of The Idea of You. At least that is a better movie that this one. Efron plays an egotistical superstar, Chris Cole while former child star Joey King plays his long-suffering personal assistant, Zara.

After a long setup in which we sees Zara being constantly humiliated by Cole, the former decides to quit her job knowing her desire to be an associate producer is not going to be anytime soon. Cole on the other hand decides to apologise and make his way to Zara’s home only to find her mother, Brooke Harwood (Kidman), an award-winning writer alone in the house. One thing leads to another and to her horror, Zara finds them both in bed in the movie’s sole funny scene.

A Family Affair is a movie that can’t make up its mind to be a romcom between a lonely superstar and a lonely writer or a sad drama about Zara’s coming-of-age woes and Brooke embracing a new love after her husband passed away 11 years ago. If you are expecting something comedic, there isn’t any unless you count the scene where a grown-up has to consult a paediatric for a head injury. The constant gags on Cole’s "Icarus Rush" action movies isn’t particularly slapstick either.

The romance portion on one hand is beautiful staged and shot. As expected, Kidman is gorgeous in all sorts of fancy gowns. Of course, who can forget the obligatory romantic montage. Even a supermarket is thrown in as if it’s going to be memorable and romantic for the closing scene. For comparison sake, that’s not the same as the Empire State Building in Sleepless in Seattle. At the same time, Zara is dead against the relationship consider she has first hand knowledge of how a jerk Cole is to his many girlfriends. Yet she continues to be Cole’s personal assistant, writer, helper whatever.

Then there is Zara’s grandmother, Leila (Kathy Bates) who conveniently happens to be Harwood’s literary agent as well. Bates’ character pops in and out dispensing nuggets of wisdow to Harwood and Zara because she is playing a warm understanding senior figure. And then there is Eugenie (Liza Koshy), the best friend of Zara who has an unexpected sudden fallout with her because the plot says so.

Director Richard LaGravenese who wrote movies liked The Fisher King, The Bridges of Madison County and The Mirror Has Two Faces helmed this cringy mess. We are not exactly sure what LaGravenese brought to the table since the entire affair is 30 minutes too long and passionless even for a predicable Hollywood rom-com.

The cast is obviously watchable especially Joey King who turns in an effective performance as a likeable, plucky young Gen Z. The May-December angle however is less convincing and poorly derived. We need some real heart in the whole delivery but it’s hard to find it here.


Review by Linus Tee



Genre: Comedy/Romance
Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, Joey King, Kathy Bates, Liza Koshy, Wes Jetton, Ian Gregg, Sarah Baskin, Sherry Cola
Director: Richard Lagravenese
Rating: NC16
Year Made: 2024



Languages: English
Subtitles: English
Running Time: 1 hr 51 mins