Reuniting the Rubins is one of the worst films released this year, to date. The film simply does not work on any level; the direction, script, performances and production values are all poor.
Lenny Rubin is about to set off on a dream cruise when he finds out his mother is ill. When Lenny goes to visit her, she requests that her son bring his whole family together as she would like a reunion before she passes away. Lenny reluctantly attempts to carry out his mother’s wish, trying to bring together her four quarreling grandchildren…
Director and writer Yoav Factor seems to have had an idea for a film, but has failed to develop it properly. The narrative needed to be more inspired, and the direction needed to bring something to the table. Too much time is spent of the fact that the family is fractured, and not enough on the how and the why of the situation.
The script is terribly poor. Jokes in Reuniting the Rubins fall embarrassingly short. The drama lacks any real emotion. The film features characters that function as caricatures rather than multi-dimensional players. There is a focus on Michael and Andie when they are the two blandest siblings of the four.
The Congo strand is as deficient as the main narrative. The trite ‘business is bad’ message is laboured, and grows tiresome quickly. Furthermore, for a film so concerned with Judaism, Reuniting the Rubins does nothing but offer a couple of stock characters – the Rabbi, the businessman and those that have rebelled. There does not seem to be an innate culture to the family, which may have at least made the film more interesting.
Reuniting the Rubins‘ production values are akin to that of a haphazard student film. There is a veneer of cheapness to the film, with visuals indicating a lack of quality. Shot choices are uninspired, with a real lack of attention to detail in the composition.
Timothy Spall is a great actor, but he seems miscast in the role of Lenny. James Callis overdoes his stereotype role,although it does seem likely that the script did not offer him much freedom in this respect. Honor Blackman offers an uneven performance as the family matriarch. She is seemingly well cast in this role, but is poor in more rousing moments.
The pacing of the film is off, just over ninety minutes feels three times as long thanks to the dire dialogue. Avoid Reuniting the Rubins at all costs.