Keeping Up With the Steins

Released 2006


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Movie Summary

Scott Marshall
Keeping Up With the Steins displays the classic conundrum of the suburban lifestyle, but what ultimately reveals itself is something more down home and folksy. Arnie Stein (Larry Miller) throws his son, Zachary (Carter Jenkins) a lavish, well-received bar mitzvah. His chief rival in the business world, Adam Fiedler (Jeremy Piven), has a son, Benjamin (Daryl Sabara), who is quickly approaching his bar mitzvah too. Adam hopes to throw Benjamin a party that will put the Steins to shame, but Benjamin is shy and doesn't want a big fuss. When his Dad won't relent on the huge party idea, Benjamin hatches a plan. He invites his grandfather, Irwin (Garry Marshall), to come and stay with the family for two weeks leading up to the party. The rub is that Irwin abandoned his son, Adam and their mother years ago, and the two are not on speaking terms. Will the two put aside their differences for Benjamin's sake? Will their ego prevent the bar mitzvah from being a special day?moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 75

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    A fresh and lovable comedy about a dysfunctional Jewish family planning their son's bar mitzvah.

  • 70

    Variety Ronnie Scheib

    A sure-fire audience-pleaser, Scott (son of Garry) Marshall's winning comedy bow could have been titled "My Big Fat Jewish Bar Mitzvah."

  • 60

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    Keeping Up With the Steins would have been a much better film if it had waited twice as long before retracting its fangs.

  • The Ultimate Movie Review! -- @tss5078

    Being Jewish, I have a bias towards liking a film like this. The usage of Yiddish, along with the many exaggerations of the Jewish family are something most people won't understand, unless they grew up around it. Parts of this film I found to be hysterical, while my non-Jewish friend, sitting next to me, didn't get it at all. As for the film, it's a lie before the credits even stop rolling. Keeping Up With The Steins, really has very little to due with the Stein family, as they are part of the background story at best. The film is actually about a broken family, forced together on the eve of a child's Bar Mitzvah. Benjamin Fiedler (Daryl Sabara) is turning 13, which in the Jewish religion means that he is about to become a man. His parents are well off and are making huge plans for the event, but Ben wants no part of it. In an attempt to take the attention off himself, he sends an invitation to his estranged Grandfather that he's never met, a Grandfather, who shows up to the families wealthy neighborhood in an old RV, with a woman half his age. This is where the heart of the story comes from, as father and son are forced together after fifteen years. Jeremy Piven stars as the son and believe it or not he's a big time Hollywood agent, living in a life of luxury. This toned down version of Ari is forced to see his father, played by the legendary Garry Marshall. For the past 15 years, he's been living as a hippie, teaching on an Indian reservation. As soon as they see each other the two are at odds and it really is very funny. The star of the film is Spy Kids, Daryl Sabara, who I have never liked. He's just always so shy and painfully awkward, I really just don't understand his appeal. While he is a major part of the story, the parts of the film that feature him without Marshall or Piven are just painful. Keeping Up With The Steins isn't raunchy and much of the humor is intertwined in the Jewish religion. If you're not Jewish, you'll probably have the same reaction my friend did. Personally I loved it, but I can understand how this film won't appeal to everybody.moreless

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Family Comedies, Coming of Age