Vera Farmiga and Christopher Plummer star in quirky comedy that veers left of sappy family movie trappings


All families have their quirks, especially movie families heading on a road trip.

But the family in "Boundaries" has the market cornered on quirks: single mom Laura (Vera Farmiga) takes in so many stray animals that she has to lie to her therapist about it, teenage son Henry (Lewis MacDougall) gets tossed out of school because he can't stop drawing naked pictures of his teachers, and grandpa Jack (Christopher Plummer) is a weed dealer who tricks his family into a West Coast road trip so he can make his round of deliveries. 

"Boundaries" could easily fall apart as its eccentricities mount. But the performances — especially from Farmiga and Plummer — keep it afloat, and help it rise above the typical I'm-messed-up-you're-messed-up-we're-all-messed-up! clichés.

After Jack is kicked out of his retirement home, Laura and Henry drive him from Portland to Los Angeles where he'll live with his other daughter JoJo (Kristen Schaal). Jack is rough around the edges and doesn't have much couth when it comes to dealing with family. "Even pedophiles know to stay away from your bad vibes," he tells his grandson. 

Writer-director Shana Feste ("Country Strong") peppers her script with similar one-liners, which Plummer rattles off with gruff panache. Of course, there's a heart beneath the insults and put-downs, which Feste arrives at naturally, without laying it on too thick. 

Bobby Cannavale, Peter Fonda and Christopher Lloyd show up in small roles, rounding out an impressive ensemble cast. But it's the dynamic between Farmiga and Plummer that keeps "Boundaries" on course.

With those two in the car, "Boundaries" is a road trip worth taking.

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Rated R for drug material, language, some sexual references and nude sketches

Running time: 110 minutes

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