Stuart Saves His Family

Stuart Saves His Family Information

Stuart Saves His Family is a 1995 comedy film directed by Harold Ramis, and based on a series of Saturday Night Live sketches from the early to mid-1990s. The movie tracks the adventures of would-be self-help guru Stuart Smalley, a creation of comedian Al Franken, as he attempts to save both his deeply troubled family and his low-rated Public-access television show. Some of the plot is inspired by Franken's book, I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!: Daily Affirmations By Stuart Smalley.

The film was produced by Lorne Michaels. Co-stars include Laura San Giacomo, Vincent D'Onofrio, Shirley Knight, Lesley Boone and Harris Yulin. Julia Sweeney, Joe Flaherty, Robin Duke, Richard Riehle, future WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts and Kurt Fuller have cameo roles.


Stuart Smalley (Al Franken), the disciple of the 12 step program, is challenged by life's injustices. He loses his Public Access Cable Television Show, must beg his manipulative overbearing boss for his job back, rehabilitate his alcoholic father and drug abuser brother (Vincent D'Onofrio), and support his over-weight mother (Shirley Knight) and sister (Lesley Boone) in their lack of ability in handling their relationships with their husbands. Stuart is supported by his 12 step sponsors as a he regresses back to his negative behaviors each time he faces these challenges.


Siskel & Ebert each gave the film a "thumbs up" rating, with Siskel calling it "smart and hip" and Ebert saying that "it has more courage than a lot of serious films." The film also received good reviews from The Washington Post, Deseret News, and the Chicago Reader. However, the film received a rotten rating of 28% Rotten Tomatoes.

The film was a huge failure at the box office, earning only $912,082. This followed the box-office failures of other SNL-adaptations.

Franken mentioned his depression following the film's failure in his 2003 book, Oh, the Things I Know! A Guide to Success, or Failing That, Happiness. In a 1999 appearance on the Howard Stern show, Franken stated that he was "very proud" of the movie.

Shortly after the movie left the theaters, Saturday Night Live featured a "Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley" sketch that parodied the poor box office returns. Stuart was depressed and bitter throughout the entire segment and lambasted the audience for choosing other movies (such as Dumb and Dumber and Bad Boys) over his.

Stuart Saves His Family was released on VHS in October 1995; it was released on DVD on April 17, 2001. In 2007, the film was packaged with two other Lorne Michaels productions, Wayne's World and Coneheads, to be sold as a "triple feature". All region 1 DVD releases of the film are now out of print and as of June 15, 2010, Paramount Pictures has yet to announce any plans to release a new DVD of the film. The film is available on Netflix instant streaming service.

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