A Family Affair


You have to commend the choices that have been made by Zac Efron. From teen heartthrob beginnings with the High School Musical franchise, the young star has carved out an interesting path acting wise, with some interesting projects that have included 2013’s Parkland, 2017’s The Greatest Showman, 2019’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, and last year’s The Iron Claw.

Perhaps even more telling is his omission from both the MCU and DCU, who have no doubt come a-calling with Lycra outfit in hand.

There’s just a little bit of irony then with his latest role, playing an actor in a superhero franchise, who falls in love with someone he probably really shouldn’t.

boom reviews A Family Affair
"But the thing is, I really am Australian!

Preparing for the third instalment in his superhero franchise playing Icarus Rush is Chris Cole (Efron). It’s made him a huge star but he’s not that keen on the script. His 24 year old personal assistant Zara (Zoey Ford) knows a writer who she thinks can do a decent re-write on it, But Chris doesn’t appear that keen.

His attitude only frustrates Zara, who has been promised a significant promotion that has never materialised, so she decides to quit.

This leads Chris going to her family home to ask her to come back, where his path crosses that of her mother Brooke (Nicole Kidman), where they soon find they have a mutual attraction almost instantly. But things will get very complicated when employee/daughter Zara finds out.

boom reviews A Family Affair
She wanted me to show her some Iron Claw moves, what was I gonna do?!

This is the second film this year that fulfils the erotica of middle-aged women succumbing to the wooing techniques of a younger man; recently we had The Idea of You that had a boy band member dating a considerably older Anne Hathaway, and now a young actor dating Nicole Kidman. All we need now to finish the trilogy is a football star dating Halle Berry.

After a fairly enjoyable start, as the relationship between Chris and PA Zara is established, the film slips into a tangible monotony with the arrival of Kidman’s character. Not only is the instant attraction between the two hard to swallow, it all feels about as natural as Kidman’s face i.e. not very.

Whereas The Idea of You had some nice, funny dialogue to underpin the relationship at hand, the interaction here is just so formulaic and pedestrian. There’s no originality, making it painfully slow, all on a constant bed of a teen break-up playlist that grates throughout.

Considering that Efron and Kidman have already had the hots for one another already on screen, in 2012’s The Paperboy this reunion is both unwise and completely unnecessary.

The only one who comes out of it with some credibility is King, whose character, initially at least is engaging; in fact the relationship of that between an actor and their PA would have been far more interesting to develop, rather than just having him shag her mum.

US director Richard LaGreavenese hasn’t been behind the camera for ten years, and it shows, as if he’s been cryogenically frozen for all that time; but even if that were the case, this would have still played poorly in 2014.

It won’t do Efron’s career any harm, as he still has a following who will enjoy him in this romantic role, but he, like everyone else involved, can – and hopefully will - do so much better.

we give this two of five