Keeping Up with the Steins (2006) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

In the manner of TV's "Wonder Years," Keeping Up With the Steins is a coming-of-age story with first person narration by a young boy. He is approaching his Bar Mitzvah, and he's filled with trepidation. First, he is terrified that he will make a fool of himself in the temple, since he has no idea what the Hebrew is all about and has a bad case of stage fright to boot. As if that weren't enough intimidation, he has a big-time Hollywood hotshot agent of a dad (Jeremy Piven, playing what is now his official obnoxious agent role) who wants to use this Bar Mitzvah to outdo a rival who threw his own son's party on a cruise ship. How does one top that? Dad's thinking of renting out Dodger Stadium for the party!

The lad contrives a plan to get the uptight dad off his case. He sneaks an invitation to the grandfather he has never met, and changes the date by two weeks so that grandpa will arrive early. He figures that the friction between his overachieving father and his ne'er-do-well hippie grandfather will occupy all of the two men's time, thus getting dad's spotlight off of the Bar Mitzvah. The situation starts out far more negative than expected when grandpa shows up with his much-younger hippie girlfriend (Daryl Hannah, playing a character named Sacred "call me Sandy" Feather), parks his beat-up trailer in the driveway of their expensive Brentwood home, and starts skinny-dipping in the family pool. Dad and grandpa immediately get at each others throats over every one of grandpa's real and imaginary slights in the past. As it turns out, and as you can probably anticipate, the flawed crackpot of a grandpa turns out to be quite a decent human being, really helps the youngster cope with growing up, and even melts dad's heart eventually.

I think you've probably already deduced that the film is fundamentally a gentle sitcom in convenient film format. I liked the first half better, when it was basically a satirical comedy with some fairly broad characters. It gets all mushy at the end, but even though the second half got a bit too sappy for my taste, it's still a pleasant way to pass the time, if you enjoy a warm-hearted coming-of-age sitcom. I was able to relate to it in a lot of ways since the wound-too-tight dad is way too much like me, and the laid-back grandpa is a lot like my own dad, who also had a calming influence on our family.

The film stars Garry Marshall as grandpa, and it was directed by his own son Scott. As far as I know, no relative of Jeremy Piven contributed to the film or, for that matter, will even acknowledge being related to him.



  • Commentary by: Director Scott Marshall and writer/producer Mark Zakarin
  • Featurette: Father and son, actor Garry Marshall and director Scott Marshall
  • Deleted scenes
  • Keeping Up With the Steins behind the scenes



  • Garry Marshall - rear nudity and even a partial frontal!

  • Daryl Hannah - modest peeks at her breasts.

The Critics Vote ...


The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, call it a C. It's solid for the genre, but not spectacular. The IMDb score is a reasonable indicator, although I expected it to be about a half-point higher.

Return to the Movie House home page