John Turturro

Jenny Slate stars in tired '90s-set family dysfunction comedy 'Landline'

Jenny Slate stars in tired '90s-set family dysfunction comedy 'Landline'

It may be true, as Tolstoy famously put it, that “every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Yet it’s hard to ignore, among a rising number of screen stories that purport to explore family tensions, the been-there-done-that sameness beneath the idiosyncratic surface. Case in point is Gillian Robespierre’s comedy “Landline,” a New York-set group portrait that reduces those tensions to checklist items as it plumbs the shallows of dysfunction.

Set in the ’90s for no particular reason other than the filmmakers’ personal nostalgia, the second feature by “Obvious Child” director Robespierre reteams her with co-writer Elisabeth Holm and actress Jenny Slate, who delivers a performance...

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