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Stuck in the Middle is a 2017 comedy-drama starring Bradley Cooper, Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Sarah Paulson and Ethan Hawke, directed and written by Judd Apatow, the film is loosely based on the 1950 movie Family Planning. The film co-stars Gillian Jacobs, Alexandra Breckenridge, James Franco, Sigourney Weaver and Elizabeth Banks in supporting roles. It was released on January 23rd 2017.

Background

Universal Pictures announced a partnership with Judd Apatow in late 2014 for a comedy starring Bradley Cooper. It was then announced in 2015 that the film would be a loose remake of the 1950 drama Family Planning starring Cary Grant.

In summer 2015, casting announcements were made at a panel at San Diego Comic Con. The film, officially titled Stuck in the Middle, and the official cast list was revealed to include Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Ethan Hawke and Sarah Paulson alongside Cooper.

Elizabeth Banks and James Franco joined the project in late 2015 as both producers and cast members. Gillian Jacobs also joined the project alongside Alexandra Breckenridge.

Shooting began in March 2016 and concluded six weeks later, a trailer premiered in August 2016 to generally positive reviews. The film premiered in theatres on January 23rd 2017 to positive reviews, earning several Academy Award nominations, specifically for the performances of Streep, Paulson and Cooper. The film was also nominated for several BAFTAs, Golden Globes, SAG awards and various other critical appraisals.

Cast

Bradley Cooper as Andrew Turner, the middle child who finds himself spiralling off into a mental breakdown after the death of his dog JoJo.

Meryl Streep as Catherine Turner, the matriarch of the Turner family, a retired school teacher who is very protective of her children and strict over her husband, who often strays.

Jeff Bridges as Ron Turner, the patriarch of the Turner family, a former hardware store owner, he often cheats on his wife with younger women, but he truly loves his wife.

Sarah Paulson as Anna Turner, the youngest Turner child who works as a publicist in Los Angeles, her boyfriend is a Hollywood stunt double who has a secret lust for her mother.

Ethan Hawke as Matthew Turner, the oldest Turner child who runs his father's hardware store with his devoted wife Marta and their children, who live in he apartment above the house. He harbours a secret that he hasn't told anyone, apart from Andrew.

Gillian Jacobs as Nancy Turner, Ron and Catherine's niece and neighbour and Andrew's childhood best friend. She's a single mother and an activist for animal welfare and a critic of her uncle's parenting skills.

Alexandra Breckenridge as Courtney Walls, Catherine's therapist who advises her to divorce Ron once and for all. She takes a liking to Andrew but Catherine's insistence on professionalism drives a wedge between a potential romance.

James Franco as Marc Haven, Alice's daredevil boyfriend who, despite being committed to Alice, harbours a secret lust for a relationship with Catherine.

Elizabeth Banks as Marta Turner, Matthew's wife and the mother of his children, she is oblivious to her husbands dark secret and it almost destroys her emotionally.

Plot

Andrew Turner's (Bradley Cooper) dog of 18 years dies in a freak accident at the local dog park and his demise sends Andrew into a downwards spiral that results in him moving back in with his parents Catherine and Ron (Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges) for his own wellbeing. Soon, his parents drag his siblings, one older one younger, back to their childhood home for the weekend.

His younger sibling Alice (Sarah Paulson) returns from Hollywood where she is a publicist to the stars. Her biggest client is a superstar stuntman Marc (James Franco), who's also her long-term boyfriend.

His older sibling Matthew (Ethan Hawke) travels a little less, he lives only 3 streets away with his wife Marta (Elizabeth Banks), the pair run Andrew's father's old hardware store and have 3 children, but Matthew confides in Andrew a dark secret, he's the father of their cousin Nancy's (Gillian Jacobs) son, who happens to be younger than Matthew's other children, meaning he cheated on Marta.

Andrew also meets his mother's therapist Courtney (Alexandra Breckenridge) and learns that her mother has been going through a lot of mental health problems recently, as a result of a violent outburst Ron had only weeks before Andrew moved back in. A devastated Andrew goes for a drink with Courtney and drunkly reveals that Matthew has an illegitimate child that's as a result of his affair with Nancy. Courtney, being a close friend of Marta, finds it difficult to conceal the truth but does so for Andrew's sake. When Andrew brings Courtney home later that night, they find Catherine up waiting for them and tells Andrew that he cannot date Courtney because it was simply be unprofessional.

The next evening, Catherine cooks a family meal, inviting over her childhood best friend Rhonda (Sigourney Weaver) and Courtney to join them. Courtney takes Matthew aside and threatens him with her new found knowledge. She does the same with Nancy but learns that her son with Matthew was not the result of an affair but as a result of drunken rape on her 21st birthday. She allowed Matthew to believe it had been a drunken one-night stand for Marta's sake. The whole conversation is overheard by a mortified Alice.

Away from Alice, Marc attempts to seduce Catherine, she brushes him off but as he goes in to kiss her, Ron walks in. Angry, Ron punches Marc in the face and a fight occurs. A traumatised Catherine tells an upset Alice everything. Alice calls both her father and boyfriend scumbags and leaves, crying. Marc tries to go after her and collapses as a result of a punch in the face, Catherine calls an ambulance and tells Andrew to go after her.

Andrew finds a shaken Alice in their childhood hideout and tells her that Marc has been taken to hospital. They go in Andrew's car and they find Catherine alone in the ER. Alice, grateful that her mother was honest, decides to tell her a secret she's been holding a secret for years previously. She tells Catherine that as a teenager, she walked in on her father in bed having sex with Rhonda, Catherine flees the hospital to find Ron and Rhonda. Alice, realising the damage she's caused, breaks down. Andrew quickly follows his mother, knowing about her mental health issues, and contacts Courtney to accompany him. They find Catherine back in the house, at blows with an upset Ron and flustered Rhonda. Catherine decides to cut Rhonda out of her life and divorce Ron once and for all, revealing she knew of his multiple affairs but never thought Rhonda would betray her.

Marta tries to convince Catherine not to make an rash desicions and that she shouldn't throw 45 years of marriage down the drain, a frustrated Alice, who has returned from the hospital after dumping a recovering Marc, reveals that Marta wouldn't give Matthew a second chance if she knew the truth and Alice pushes Matthew to tell the truth, and when he lies Nancy finally stands up for herself and reveals the entire truth, including the rape.

A devastated Marta is comforted by Courtney and Alice, the latter of which is angered by cheating since she discovered her father's secret as a teenager years previously. Marta decides its in everyone's best interests for her to split from Matthew.

Marta forgives Nancy, but files for divorce from Matthew and reveals she's staying, but Matthew isn't. The police arrive and take Matthew away. Marta tells Nancy to press charges to allow her pain to be put to rest once and for all.

Andrew, who begins to recover from his breakdown, stays with his mother through their divorce and Ron leaves town with Rhonda for good. Marta receives her husband's share of the hardware store in the divorce settlement. Andrew then asks his mother's permission to date Courtney and she agrees. The pair move in together next door to Catherine and Alice moves back in with Catherine. Nancy decides to return to work, and begins helping Marta in the hardware store.

Six months after the divorces are settled and Matthew is imprisoned, Andrew and Courtney have married and are expecting their first child. Both Catherine and Alice have met new people and Nancy and her son are happily living next door. Marta is focusing on her business and her children, as well as the potential to expand the company. Catherine receives a letter from Ron revealing that Rhonda left him. She chucks it into the fire and embraces her family. Andrew frames a picture of his dog and places it on the fireplace and smiles.

Television Spin Off

Main Article: Turning Corners (Television Series)

Shortly after the film's success in awards season, NBC's TV executives announced they were optioning a pilot for an hour comedy drama starring Bradley Cooper as a continuation of the series, entitled 'Turning Corners'. The series, created by Judd Apatow and produced by Apatow, Cooper and Elizabeth Banks, was greenlit by NBC and given a full series order of 13 episodes to premiere on September 19th 2017 at 8/7c.

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