Cold Turkey

An affectingly mournful performance from Peter Bogdanovich anchors this assured comedy by writer-director Will Slocombe, about a fractured family torturing one another at Thanksgiving. The diffident, wine-guzzling paterfamilias (Bogdanovich) is a former Stanford professor whose career has wilted following a Defense Department sojourn in which he “personally disbanded the Iraqi army”; he and his second wife (Cheryl Hines) are joined at their home in Pasadena by their foolhardy law-student son (Ashton Holmes) and the mutually antagonistic daughters from the professor’s first marriage (Alicia Witt, Sonya Walger). The action turns on a dime from vicious comedy to wincing drama, and the home-for-the-holidays conceit, though familiar from many other movies, yields a cornucopia of buried resentment and frustrated love.