begins as an over-the-top dysfunctional family farce, and ends as a credulity-straining melodrama. It opens like Desperate Living
, but turns into Ordinary People
midway through. Like the latter film, Lifelines features a family therapist of nearly superhuman compassion and understanding, played by Joe Morton. Morton is a pro, and he makes Dr. Livingston watchable and interesting, but not quite believable, particularly in light of the movie's unfortunately contrived surprise twist. Writer-director Rob Margolies has written an over-plotted gabfest, and he compounds the problem when he tries to ameliorate the staginess by opening things up...