When news breaks that Aunt Hilda (Kathleen Turner), who has been terminally ill for awhile, is dying, everyone wonders who she will leave her impressive estate to.
Will it be sisters Macey (Toni Collette) and Savanna (Anna Faris) who are willing to do whatever it takes to save their fathers’ cafe? Or maybe cousin Beatrice (Rosemarie DeWitt) and her husband James (Ron Livingston) who try with all their might with freshly baked goods and other delicious meals? Perhaps it may even be the odd one of the bunch, Richard (David Duchovny), who wants a new Porsche? One thing is certain: they will do whatever it takes to get what they want.
The main reason for checking out a movie such as The Estate is for its star studded cast. While Collette and Faris didn’t quite sell me on the fact that they were sisters, they still worked well off each other. Collette is great in everything she does and Faris has always been sort of under appreciated and yet great at comedy. It was Duchovny, however, who really sold his performance for me. A million parts sleazy with a dash of creepy, he completely made it work and was the best character to me.
Attempting to suck up to a dying family member for their fortune is kinda awful and so it’s hard to root for these characters. But I have to admit that a few of the situations they found themselves in were funny. Some moments had me laughing out loud, but others just fell flat. It’s as if they were trying to jam too much into a short run time and it got a little out of control. Just when you thought you could breathe a sigh of relief, the next obstacle was introduced.
Overall, The Estate had all the ingredients to work, but I think there was some confusion along the way. I can’t help but wonder if it knew what kind of film wanted to be – do these characters feel bad for what they are doing and can they redeem themselves, or are they straight up awful human beings who deserve nothing? Had this question been answered, I believe there would have been a better flow to the story and that would have given me more satisfaction at the end.