10 Most Dysfunctional Onscreen Families
April 25th, 2013 8:00am EDT
Dysfunctional families are frequently portrayed in varying film genres, including comedies, dramas, horror and action films. The upcoming romantic comedy “The Big Wedding” brings an all new dysfunctional brood to the silver screen, with Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton portraying a divorced couple faking their marriage during their son’s impending nuptials. The film features an all-star cast with the likes of Robin Williams, Katherine Heigl and Amanda Seyfried. In honor of the film’s release on April 26, here are 10 of the most dysfunctional families ever to grace the big screen.
1. The Hoovers, “Little Miss Sunshine”
When little Olive Hoover (played by Abigail Breslin) gets the chance to compete in a beauty pageant, the entire family piles in a cramped yellow VW bus and takes a cross-country road trip to support her biggest dream. The Hoover bunch consists of dysfunctional weirdos of varying degrees, including a suicidal uncle, an intentionally-mute teen, and a dirty-minded grandpa.
2. The Corleones, “The Godfather”
Working for the family business is hard. Working for the family business when your family is in the mafia is even harder. Armed with money, corruption and Italian sass, the Corleone family does its best to follow the phrase “blood is thicker than water,” meaning that family allegiance should always come first. Breaking that loyalty can only lead to a family beat-down in the middle of a public street.
3. The Tenenbaums, “The Royal Tenenbaums”
The Tenenbaum family is a rich but miserable bunch with eccentric personalities and questionable fashion styles. With the family patriarch willing to fake a terminal illness to reclaim his children’s affections, and a near-incestuous love between brother and adopted sister, the Tenenbaums stand among the most dysfunctional onscreen families.
4. The Stones, “The Family Stone”
When uptight businesswoman Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) meets her boyfriend’s family for the first time, she’s greeted with strong criticisms and an obvious sense dislike. Judgmental parents and snippy siblings are enough to send her on her way but instead she calls in reinforcements in the form of her more likeable sister (Claire Danes).
5. The McCallisters, “Home Alone/Home Alone 2”
Holidays are a busy time for any family, but for the McCallisters it’s a time of utter mayhem. This constant chaos is the only explanation given for leaving behind little Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) home alone not once—but twice. Poor Kevin already has to deal with a bossy older brother, an aggressive uncle and tattletale cousins. Needless to say Mr. and Mrs. McCallister are unlikely to receive any Parent of the Year awards any time soon.
6. The Griswolds, “National Lampoon’s Vacation”
A list of dysfunctional families would be incomplete without the Griswolds of the “National Lampoon” films, starring Chevy Chase as family man Clark Griswold. Whether they’re making their way to Wally World or traversing around Europe, the Griswolds’ many attempts at getting along and bonding are hilarious and enjoyable.
7. The Fockers, “Meet the Fockers”
In the preceding film “Meet the Parents,” Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) is faced with the fear of meeting his girlfriend’s parents for the first time. In “Meet the Fockers” Greg faces a different kind of terror: the embarrassment of watching his hippie, socially-awkward parents, played by Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand, interact with his strict future father-in-law and former CIA agent, played by Robert De Niro.
8. The Addams, “The Addams Family”
With unusual first names, indifferent personalities and a moving hand servant called Thing, the Addams family is pretty much the definition of dysfunctional. Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Uncle Fester and the rest of the gang spend their days scaring off other people with their socially unacceptable take on family, education and life in general.
9. The Huffs, “Step Brothers”
It’s love at first sight when the mother of a 39-year-old still living at home meets the father of a 40-year-old in the same predicament. The two families merge and hilarity ensues as the two middle-aged stepbrothers, played by Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, are forced to become roommates.
10. The Sawyers, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”
Nothing brings a family closer together like hunting down and terrorizing hordes of innocent people. In the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” Leatherface and his family of cannibals prove their dysfunction by bonding over their shared love of human flesh and bones.
Related: Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Little Miss Sunshine, Meet the Fockers, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Step Brothers, The Big Wedding, The Family Stone, The Godfather, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Starpulse Exclusives, Movies, Evergreen
Photo Credits: Fox Searchlight Pictures, Eric Lee, Paramount Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Columbia Tristar Marketing Group, Inc., Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment LLC, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Universal Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, New Media Strategies