Destined to be a Christmas classic, Thomas Bezucha's dazzling dramedy, THE FAMILY STONE, manages to be both warmhearted and sentimental while possessing a razor-sharp hilarious mean streak. The fairly conventional story centers on Sarah Jessica Parker's uptight career woman, Meredith, and her run-in with the eponymous Stone family. With her permanently pursed lips and severe bun, SJP looks and acts the anti-Carrie Bradshaw here as, armed with cell phone and business-suit collection, she gears up to meet her fiance's oddball family, a tight-knit, colorful clan who border on bohemian. Matriarch Sybil (Diane Keaton) and patriarch Kelly (Craig T. Nelson) are a loving couple whose diverse children are affectionate and respectful. When Meredith's humorless aura infects the homestead, it is mom Sybil and sister Amy (Rachel McAdams), who sense a romantic mismatch and attack her venomously, sparking a tete-a-tete-a-tete between three feisty females. While this Battle Royal is waged, dramatic subplots brew in the background, one involving the deaf and gay brother Thad's desire to adopt a child, and the other a rather devastating secret on the verge of exposure. It is in the emergence of Meredith's refreshingly calm and breezy younger sister, Julie (Claire Danes), entering the film with a dramatic fall from a bus exit, that brings all conflict to a head.