For those blissfully unaware, Paramount+’s The Family Stallone is a new reality series about Sylvester Stallone and his family, which the 76-year-old signed on to so that he’d have an excuse to hang out with his family. ðŸ˜¬ Stallone also promised, ahead of its release, that The Family Stallone would be “authentic,” and more a “docu-series” than a reality show while one of his daughters also promised that “nothing would be staged.”
If The Family Stallone is an authentic docuseries that is not staged, the Stallones are the dullest, most facile family in America, notwithstanding their wealth and Stallone’s fame. The entire production, including their personalities, feels airbrushed. The series follows Stallone’s wife of 25 years, Jen, and their three daughters, Sophia, Sistine, and Scarlet, who seem mostly interchangeable despite the pains the first episode takes to draw distinctions between them. Sophia has boy problems. Scarlett has boy problems too but is also in college when she’s not in Oklahoma filming a role in Stallone’s Tulsa King. I’m not sure what Sistine does yet. Probably has boy problems.
The series is painfully mundane, a heavily curated 22-minute Facebook photo come to life. There are no unflattering angles, no shots of messy tables, and nothing in the final edit that might suggest any of the main family members have any personality whatsoever. I’ve seen five episodes, and I am struggling to remember a single moment involving the main family aside from a recent episode where one of the daughters allows a spider to briefly walk on her hand, and another moment when one of the daughters pranks Stallone by pretending to be pregnant (a prank she keeps alive for only 20 seconds before cracking). Al Pacino is in an early episode, although he doesn’t contribute anything to it beyond his wild unkempt hair. The daughters often ask Stallone for dating advice, and he claims to be a fountain of knowledge, but he’s also overprotective and refuses to meet boyfriends until they “earn the right” to meet him. The daughters clearly adore their father, which is sweet, but it does not make for compelling television.
There is a small silver lining. Through the first five episodes, Stallone’s brother, Frank Stallone, is the only person who approaches interesting — he’s a weird uncle type obsessed with his own brother (he basically has a Sly Stallone shrine in his house) who is still making a go of it as a singer, despite the ridicule his singing career has garnered him over the last several decades. Frank gets a lot of screen time in The Family Stallone because he’s eccentric, a horndog bachelor who occasionally says things that do not feel scripted. He’s the only thing about the reality series that doesn’t feel completely contrived.