The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

Rated 4.0

More acridly intellectual extended-family comedy from writer-director Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the WhaleMistress America), this time structured as a series of short stories revolving around the embittered family of a forgotten sculptor.  Dustin Hoffman plays Harold, a prickly artist whose greatest claim to fame is having one of his works buried somewhere in the Whitney, although he still manages to entangle his embittered children from his various marriages in his many mini-dramas.  Adam Sandler plays Harold’s oldest son Danny, a failed musician and loving father prone to eruptions of anger, while Ben Stiller plays the prized son Matthew, far more financially successful but just as volatile and unhappy.  It’s not as cohesive (or corrosive) as Baumbach’s best work, but even in second gear no one depicts the tender malice of family better, and the film offers a powerful reminder that Sandler and Stiller are otherwise wasting their careers on crap. D.B.