I approached "Everybody's Fine" with trepidation. I have a fondness for the original and the director of that film is best-known for "Cinema Paradiso," one of my very favorites.
I read two reviews prior to attending. The first review contained a long discussion of the difference between sentiment and sentimentality, this seemed to confirm my worst fears that they had transformed the somber tale of long-told lies into a typical 'home for the holidays' movie, as indicated by the trailer. The second review said the film was a 'victim of marketing' and I wholeheartedly agree with the latter assessment. Whoever put together the trailer should be shot, not only because it is so misleading, but also because it is an insult to both films. I can't fathom what they hoped to accomplish, audiences looking for holiday escapism will find its polar opposite, and those who enjoyed the original may avoid it entirely, fearing its ruination. One of the characters is an advertising executive and she remarks that clients pay her to "be economical with the truth", it's an apt summation of what is going on in the film, and I could imagine something similar being said as a rationalization for the trailer.
This version was written and directed by Kirk Jones, who made "Waking Ned Devine", the kind of film that demonstrates Jones would be equally capable of producing a lightweight comedy or a drama, further muddying expectations.
"Everybody's Fine" is a respectful and respectable remake, and one hopes that it will help spur the DVD release of the original.