Blue Hawaii - Page 2

A downbeat George Clooney shines in Alexander Payne's wry, restrained Descendants

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Shailene Woodley, George Clooney, Amara Miller, and Nick Krause in The Descendants.
PHOTO BY MERIE WALLACE

These are small quibbles, anyway. The Descendants is hardly The Tree of Life — yay — but its reined-in observations of odd yet relatable adult and family lives are all the more satisfying for lack of grandiose ambition. There are moments here when Payne's restraint itself is a thing of beauty, like a discreet late cut to some landscape shots where shameless tearduct-milking would normally go. The oil-and-water seriocomedy of a well-intentioned recent movies like 50/50 reveals how tricky this director's customary feat really is, of making the serious and the comic blend together seamlessly.

THE DESCENDANTS opens Fri/18 in San Francisco.

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