Starring Danny DeVito and Kathy Bates as the "river rat" biological parents of an upscale psychologist played by Ron Livingston. Frank and Agnes Maneure really aren't original characters nor or the jokes. But Danny DeVito and Kathy Bates makes you like them, believe them and last of all laugh at all the jokes.
The implausible plotline is not that original but it ends well and you find yourself laughing all the way. There were great sets, details and editing in the film. It's an "Uncle Buck" film where you see the fool is sometimes the foregone conclusions and not the people. People are flawed but they may be better sometimes because of the flaws. You just have to remember that during the holidays.
I looked at the Imdb reviews. I was not surprised it was released overseas and never hit the American market except as DVD sales or television runs. Its a great flick and better by far than so many that come to market. It is not that original of a story.
The comedic talent of Danny DeVito and Kathy Bates is enhanced by other popular actors. I simply love Christine Baranski who plays Ron Livingston's adoptive mother. Beverly D'Angelo played a subtle character whose eccentricity emerges as the film progresses. Neve Campbell played such a nice character and those perfect looks helped.
No the movie is not high brow art. It's entertainment and feel good entertainment at that.
There is another movie that exists of the same title.