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Relative Evil (2001)

 R |  DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Relative Evil (aka Ball in the House)
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Product Details

  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Screen Media
  • DVD Release Date: January 5, 2010
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002T4GWZW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,221 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

When JJ (Jonathan Tucker) returns home from rehab, he is greeted by a conniving family who are plotting to cash in on a life insurance policy before his 18th birthday. Caught in a web of self-destruction, JJ struggles to stay clean in an environment overflowing with temptations and deceit. With a winning performance by Tucker and a beguiling turn from Jennifer Tilly, this dark, pulp thriller shows Home Sweet Home really can be murder.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I found this movie to be quite depressing because it is very realistic. It seems to be marketed as a sort of thriller, but I think it is much more a psychological story. Much of the movie is taken up with J.J.'s psychological counseling and his psychologist. This certainly is not a feel-good movie. Simply put, it shows how important a positive support system is for a juvenile who comes out of drug rehabilitation or some juvenile criminal institution. This movie would probably be best shown to families of kids finishing their time in the institution so it can be discussed. Hopefully, it would help some families (at least a few) avoid placing undo pressures on their child that will result in his or her self-destructive thinking. This movie shows how the relatives and friends created situations that put 'JJ' back on the path to more time in a juvenile institution, and, as he gets older, will result surely in prison.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars They did well given what they were working with November 27, 2008
The characters in this movie are people that you can actually imagine meeting: Real, working class people trying to make it through life subject to many constraints.

The acing was good throughout and with all characters.

One big problem was imagining that a psychiatrist could be coopted for a very small amount of insurance money ($50,000) to try to violate his ethics and prompt a patient to kill himself. The whole movie was not premised on this, and so the whole plot did not shatter when we found out that the psychiatrist was the "other person." It did, however, severely weaken the believability of the whole movie.
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3.0 out of 5 stars JUST OK April 18, 2014
Format:Amazon Instant Video
Not crazy about films that keep switching time frames that don't really tell you it was done. The storyline was a little week.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Misconceeptions and Poor Knowledge of Rehab April 17, 2014
Format:Amazon Instant Video
The acting is good especially the lead. However the script and plot are full of discrepancies and inaccuracies. No rehab counselor would have recommended this young man go back to his extremely dysfunctional family. Talk about the Addams Family or the Munsters; this bunch of yo-yos after CPS investigated would have made sure this kid went to Aftercare in a solid TRCF for Juveniles or at least placed in a Half-way House Program or a D.O.C. monitored and regulated pre-release long-term, court-ordered Program. No way to wiggle out of this stipulation would have been tailored and written into this sentence.. The fault in the story-line makes it not only inaccurate, but full of serious faults in conceptualizations, that would never stand up to scrutiny by anyone fully cognizant of the "real-life" sceanrio, making this script weak and poorly conceived.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "We Used To Drink Sterno Together!"... April 16, 2013
RELATIVE EVIL is a masterfully well-made black comedy about addiction, recovery, and the people -family, "friends", nefarious doctors- who try to derail the whole bloody process! Jennifer Tilly (BOUND) is perrrfectly wicked as the diabolical, conniving aunt who convinces JJ's dad and uncle to cash in on his life insurance policy. All of the temptations, pitfalls, and disasters of recovery are amplified as the vultures circle. Funny, frightening, and sometimes devastatingly real, RE points out the horrors of trying to stay clean in an addicted world. If you've ever struggled w/ addiction, or known others who have, you'll recognize the truth behind the dark humor. Highly recommended...
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Relative Evil (Tanya Wexler, 2001)

I had originally intended to mention during the course of this review that Tanya Wexler's Relative Evil (also released under the title Ball in the House) didn't know what kind of movie it wanted to be--comedy, thriller, or inspirational drama. As we went on, however, I think Wexler (Hysteria) and screenwriter Matthew Swan (Mr. Smith Gets a Hustler) did figure out what kind of movie they wanted it to be--but not until after they'd used up too much of the movie's budget to go back and reshoot the early comedic scenes, which stick out like Times Square were it moved to central Wyoming in this otherwise bleak, pitiless picture.

Plot: we open in rehab. JJ (The Ruins' Jonathan Tucker) is telling the tale of how he ended up there--in a partial body cast, no less--in a group therapy session led by his doctor, whom we only ever know as Dr. Charlie (L. A. Confidential's David Strathairn). It takes a long, long time--six months, in fact--but eventually Dr. Charlie recommends JJ be returned to the world, a week before his eighteenth birthday. And thus we meet JJ's family--mother Phyllis (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind's Deirdre O'Connell), stepfather Bull (American Gangster's Dan Moran), little brother Benji (One Small Hero's Nathan Kiley in his final, to date, screen appearance; he's moved behind the camera to direct), Uncle Ernie (Stir of Echoes's Larry Neumann Jr.), and Aunt Dot (Bound's Jennifer Tilly). They're not the most functional of families; I had Harry Dean Stanton's brood from Twister in mind much of the time.
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