Promoting Everybody's Fine with a poster suggesting a holiday tie-in makes a certain sense. It is that time of year, there is a scene at Christmas time and the angle suggests a safe, multi-generational moviegoing bet.

Promoting Everybody's Fine with a poster suggesting a holiday tie-in makes a certain sense. It is that time of year, there is a scene at Christmas time and the angle suggests a safe, multi-generational moviegoing bet.

In truth, that one scene represents the only Christmas connection in this dysfunctional family piece, and the film is safe in only unsatisfying ways.

Before retirement, Robert De Niro's Frank spent his life providing for his family at the cost of his health, while leaving the messy emotional stuff to his recently deceased wife. After his four kids cancel on a family get-together, he crosses the country to visit each.

To keep him in the dark about the imperfections in their lives and the troubles with their fourth sibling, missing somewhere in Mexico, Amy (Kate Beckinsale), Robert (Sam Rockwell) and Rosie (Drew Barrymore) all shuttle Frank off almost as soon as he arrives.

Between interactions that leave little room for character building and an absurdly contrived dream sequence, the audience seems to get the same treatment from filmmaker Kirk Jones as Frank's getting from his kids. Like him, we don't buy into any of it.

With no sense of connection, despite the fine cast, the story of an emotionally distant father, offspring that present him with happy lies and the guilt trips that ensue may leave some viewers wondering why they paid to watch something available within their own families for free.