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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Robert De Niro is OK in Everybody’s Fine

click to enlarge EVERYBODY'S FINE: Frank (Robert De Niro, from left) makes an unannounced visit to daughter Rosie (Drew Barrymore)
  • EVERYBODY'S FINE: Frank (Robert De Niro, from left) makes an unannounced visit to daughter Rosie (Drew Barrymore)

The mystique of Marlon Brando always brought out the best in Robert De Niro, whose finest work seemed to spring from a kind of conversation and competition between the two actors. De Niro played the younger version of Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II and used Brando's trademark "I coulda been a contender" speech to convey the redemption of boxer Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull. De Niro stakes a persuasive claim to be the Brando of his generation.

The two performers' late careers don't look much alike. Where Brando engaged in odd behavior and occasionally took nutso roles such as Dr. Moreau in The Island of Dr. Moreau, De Niro seldom strays from the middle of the road. He maintains an admirable work ethic, putting in his time at the office, while seldom challenging himself as an artist. He doesn't embarrass himself in Everybody's Fine, but his performance as retiree Frank Goode is the kind of role he can do in his sleep – and practically has to do in the audience's sleep.

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(Photo Courtesy Miramax Films)

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