Review | The Kids Are All Right

Opens: Friday 7/9

Us Rating: ****

Longtime lesbian couple Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) share a suburban California dream house, trying to keep their sex life fresh and their teens (Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson) on the academic fast track. But the duo's typical domestic bickering gets turned up a notch when hipster restaurateur Paul (Mark Ruffalo) -- the kids' sperm-donor father -- arrives on the scene, happy to find a readymade family. Bening, whose alpha-dog control-freak doctor is refreshingly real, will certainly get an Oscar nomination. Moore plays it loose and sexy at her side, and the rumpled Ruffalo delights in each one of his scenes. Directing from the tart, laugh-out-loud script she cowrote, Lisa Cholodenko (Laurel Canyon) has crafted an honest, generous portrait of the challenges of American family life -- gay or straight.