It happens every year without fail. At some point, in some season, my “original” family—parents, sibs, and an assortment of spouses—inevitably winds up together at the cottage on Lake Muskoka. It’s always a hoot in more ways than one, especially now that we’re grownups.
Now no matter how “functional” your family may or may not be, I’m betting you can relate to the minefield that is a family retreat. Over the course of a few very long days, being cooped up together somehow does the trick of bringing out the joy, and the demons, in everyone. There’s no escaping the ups and downs in relationships because there’s no escaping each other and ultimately, ourselves.
Now let’s complicate things, shall we? Imagine if this time, you and your sis find yourselves dragged from New York to the Canadian tundra for a mini-vacay that includes your long-lost Dad, his brand new wife and a brood of grownup stepsiblings, each hailing from different fathers.
Oh yeah, get ready to squirm. And laugh. And nod.
Watching The Steps, a new *Canadian* Indie film starring Jason Ritter as the freaked out son (John lookalike or what?), Emanuelle Chriqui as his cool sister sidekick, James Brolin, a still-hot Dad over 60, and Christine Lahti, hands down the most brazen Stepmom on the planet, you’ll be introduced to a whole new level of dysfunctional. Still, there’s something so relatable about adult family dynamics sparking onscreen, where nothing is held back (not sex, not drugs, not nothing). What this film delivers so well, besides some desperately needed belly laughs, is the comfort of knowing you should feel just fine about whatever madness is going on at home.
At first, you can’t help but feel for poor Jeff (Jason Ritter). This guy is like a lost pup you want to cuddle even before his family explodes. Brought up The Good Son, Jeff heads north hiding some shameful secrets. He’s lost both his banker job and his perfect fiancee, which makes looking down on his new stepbros, each one of whom seems nuttier than the next, sort of hard. But he tries, of course, as does his sister, Marla, a girl who’s a little lost herself, evidenced by her keen knack for unzipping flies.
And we start off judging, too. Let’s face it, these people are seriously strange. The problem is, they’re also strangely loveable, it turns out. Watching the action, we are held captive by their quirkiness since with no place to hide, they can’t help but reveal who they are.
Like the members of any blended family (which these days, is more the norm than the exception), these characters don’t have a choice but to get to know one other on a more, um, intimate basis. And through some typical northern exposure activities—truth or dare games, paintball, hitting the local bar—secrets and resentments are bound to get exposed.
As is to be expected, this wonderful “family” (played by an equally wonderful cast) does some bonding in some very unexpected ways. Welcome to The Brady Bunch all grown up on steroids, where nothing is taboo. Fun, right?
We think so. In fact, we know so. We’re so sure you’re going to love this film that we’re making it easy for you to get out and see it. (Keep reading to win tickets!)
Now crack open your calendar. The Steps opens in these cities on these dates and you don’t want to miss it!
- Halifax (Park Lane Cinema)
- Toronto (Cineplex Yonge and Dundas)
- Calgary (Plaza Theatre)
- Edmonton (Princess Theatre)
- Vancouver (The Rio)