While the concept is extremely interesting the acting by both the 'kids' was comatose. These kids go through divorce, abuse, alcoholism, heartbreak, drug use, moves, home displacement....oh, it goes on and on and all we get from either of them is a bleak look and a shrug.
The daughter, especially as she ages, seems less and less interested in being there. As a youngster, she seemed to have more of a personality (good scene where they're leaving their family home and she's saying goodbye to every item they have to leave behind). As a mom of two boys, I thought there would be some insightful takes on the growth of a boy into adulthood. It seemed more like a kid bending to the whims of one strong willed or messed up adult to another. I have to say, it seems odd to see two kids so compliant and basically 'along for the ride'. Most kids would not be 'whatever, we're moving' or 'whatever my mom's marrying some guy I don't know' or 'whatever my stepdad's a raging alcoholic and is beating on my mom'
The other side is we don't see the multitude of change at the hands of the adult actors effecting the personalities of these kids. They seem to be the same from start to finish, add a little mild drinking/drug use, a little goth eyeliner and temporary lack of career direction, but still the same.
Really, this movie should have been called 'adulthood' as the adult characters are who really grew up in this film. The dad, a wayward musician and deadbeat, finally finds his inner grownup and does ok embracing it and moving on to creating a family with his new wife. The mom, a woman seeking to provide a better life for her kids but still craves a partner at any cost, finally casts aside two alcoholic and abusive partners and learns to be happy with her own accomplishments and appreciate her wide and unique family inclusive of her ex and his wife and new kid. The grandma, who harbors deep resentment for the father of her grandkids, sees him with new eyes as he moves (a little late in life) to a more stable life with his new family and steady job.
It certainly wasn't a waste of time at all...just had to adjust my expectations of where the focus actually was, on the parents and how having kids shaped their decisions and lives.