Destined to be a classic, Thomas Bezucha's dazzling dramedy, THE FAMILY STONE, manages to be both warm-hearted and sentimental while possessing a razor-sharp hilarious mean streak. The fairly conventional story centres on Sarah Jessica Parker's uptight career woman, Meredith, and her run-in with the eponymous Stone family (one wonders which came first, the title or the script). With her permanently pursed lips and severe bun, SJP looks and acts the anti-Carrie Bradshaw here as, armed with cell phone and business suit collection, she gears up to meet her fiance's oddball family, a tight-knit, colourful clan who border on bohemian. Matriarch Sybil (Diane Keaton) and patriarch Kelly (Craig T. Nelson) are a loving couple whose diverse children are clearly intimate and respectful progeny. When Meredith's humourless aura infects the homestead, it is mom Sybil and sister Amy (Rachel McAdams), sensing a romance mismatch and attack her venomously, sparking a tete-a-tete-a-tete between three fiesty females. While this Battle Royale wages, dramatic subplots brew in the backdrop, one involving the deaf and gay brother Thad's desire to adopt a child, and the other a rather devastating secret on the verge of exposure. It is in the emergence of Meredith's refreshingly calm and breezy younger sister Julie (Claire Danes), entering the film with a dramatic fall from a bus exit, that brings all conflict to a head.