While I do not agree at all with French’s belief that the Royal Tenenbaums’ is an, “incomprehensible and largely unfunny,” and “an invitation to thoughtlessness, a cultivation of the irrationally wilful,” with no significant depth or message, I find his writing style refreshing after suffering through Ebert’s review.
French spent more of his time researching Anderson’s inspiration for the film, ( “Anderson's attraction to eccentricity stems, he says, from reading back numbers of the New Yorker, and indeed over the years that magazine has had quite a line in urban oddities. The cartoons of George Price, George Booth and Charles Addams, for instance; the stories of JD Salinger and the profiles of Joseph Mitchell (most especially his classic portrait of the tramp-philosopher Joe Gould). Salinger's Glass family of disturbed former child prodigies are, like the Tenenbaums, half-Jewish and half-Irish, and would appear to be Anderson's conscious or unconscious models.) and posting his not-so-subtle perspective, rather then creating an Anderson biography, as Ebert attempted. I find this technique more direct, organized, and successful.
French, . "Geniuses with nothing to declare." Royal Tenenbaums. 16 2002: n. page. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2002/mar/17/features