Running With Scissors

Rated 3.0

When his alcoholic father and mentally unstable mother separate, a teenager (Joseph Cross) goes to live with his mother’s unorthodox psychoanalyst (Brian Cox) and the shrink’s off-the-wall extended family. The Augusten Burroughs memoir that is the basis of director Ryan Murphy’s script is said to be distinguished by Burroughs’ humor and compassion for the screwed-up people who tried so hard to screw him up too. Little of that comes through in the movie; what humor it has is bitter and harrowing, and the movie has the same shortcoming as Angela’s Ashes: We don’t have the comfort of reading the book to reassure us that the author is going to be OK. That said, it’s extremely well acted, especially by Annette Bening as the hero’s mother and Joseph Fiennes as his “foster brother” and first lover.