Domestic Disturbance

Domestic Disturbance is a 2001 American psychological thriller film directed by Harold Becker and starring John Travolta, Vince Vaughn, Teri Polo, Steve Buscemi, and Matt O'Leary.

Domestic Disturbance
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHarold Becker
Produced byDonald De Line
Jonathan D. Krane
Screenplay byLewis Colick
Story byLewis Colick
William S. Comanor
Gary Drucker
StarringJohn Travolta
Vince Vaughn
Teri Polo
Steve Buscemi
Matthew O'Leary
Music byMark Mancina
CinematographyMichael Seresin
Edited byPeter Honess
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • November 2, 2001 (2001-11-02)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$75 million[1]
Box office$54.2 million[1]


In Southport, Maryland, Susan Morrison (Teri Polo), recently divorced from her husband Frank (John Travolta) who is a struggling boat builder, is marrying a younger and wealthier Rick Barnes (Vince Vaughn). Danny (Matt O'Leary), Susan and Frank's twelve-year-old son, is clearly unhappy that his mother is remarrying. Susan asks Frank to allow Rick to go sailing with him and Danny, to help Danny bond with and accept Rick as a stepfather.

After the wedding and a brief improvement in Danny's and Rick's relationship, Danny dislikes Rick once again. During a game of catch between the two, Rick clearly becomes agitated with Danny's ambivalent playing style and starts criticizing him harshly. The revelation that Susan and Rick are having a baby worsens the situation. After finding out about the baby, Danny stows away in Rick's Chevy Suburban, planning to drop off it en route and visit his father. But while Danny is inside, he sees Rick murdering mysterious stranger Ray Coleman (Steve Buscemi), who earlier attended the wedding unannounced, claiming to be an ex-business associate of Rick.

Danny reports the murder to his father and to the local police. Rick, however, has managed to dispose of most of the evidence, and is widely considered a pillar of the local community as he invested his money in the area, whereas Danny has a history of lying and misdemeanors. Frank believes his son, though, stemming from Rick's notable unease around Coleman at the ceremony and the fact that Danny never lies to him.

Frank does some investigating of his own and unearths Rick's criminal past, which now stands to put his son and ex-wife at risk. Frank learns that Rick's real name is Jack Parnell and that he is a criminal who was acquitted while his partners, which included Coleman, were convicted. Jack tries to kill Frank by setting his boathouse on fire, but Frank manages to escape.

Susan realizes the truth when she sees a large burn on Jack's arm, having heard about the fire at the boathouse hours earlier. She tries to escape with Danny but Jack knocks her out and takes Danny as a hostage. Frank arrives to confront Jack, as he tries to flee. Jack and Frank fight, and Jack is killed when a tied-up Danny pushes him to a fuse box, electrocuting him. Susan has no serious physical injury from the conflict, aside from suffering a miscarriage.



In April 2001, while shooting the film in Wilmington, North Carolina, actor Steve Buscemi was slashed in the face while intervening in a bar fight between his friend Vince Vaughn, screenwriter Scott Rosenberg and a local man, Timothy Fogerty, who allegedly instigated the brawl.[2][3]


Paramount Pictures held the world premiere of Domestic Disturbance at the studio on October 30, 2001.[4] The film's stars were in attendance as well as many other guest celebrities.[5] The film was then officially released on November 2, 2001 in 2,910 theaters throughout the United States. It did not prove to be a financial success, grossing only $45,246,095 domestically. By the end of its run, the film was only able to gross $54 million worldwide from its $75 million budget.[1]

Home mediaEdit

The film was released on DVD on September 3, 2002.[6]

Critical reactionEdit

The film was received poorly by critics, and gains a 24% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 100 reviews, with an average rating of 4/10. The consensus reads: "Well-made but extremely predictable, Domestic Disturbance is an average thriller that may work better on TV."[7] On Metacritic, it holds a score of 29 out of 100, based on reviews from 27 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[8]

Roger Ebert awarded it one-and-a-half stars out of a possible four,[9] reciting an anecdote about how the Chicago film critics had been shown the wrong last reel. He saw the correct one the following Monday, and scathingly said of it in his review: "The earlier reel was lacking the final music. Music is the last thing wrong with that reel."


Matt O'Leary was nominated for a Young Artist Award, for Best Performance in a Feature Film – Supporting Young Actor. However, star John Travolta was nominated for a Razzie for Worst Actor (also for Swordfish). Vaughn and Travolta later worked in Be Cool together.


  1. ^ a b c Domestic Disturbance at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ mugshots and description
  3. ^ has two news clippings on the incident. Archived January 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "World Premiere of Paramount Pictures' 'Domestic Disturbance' - Attendee Update". PR Newswire. Cision. October 30, 2001. Archived from the original on November 23, 2001. Retrieved June 24, 2019 – via
  5. ^ "World Premiere of Paramount Pictures' 'Domestic Disturbance'". Paramount Pictures. October 23, 2001. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  6. ^ "Domestic Disturbance". Archived from the original on August 17, 2002. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  7. ^ Domestic Disturbance at Rotten Tomatoes
  8. ^ Domestic Disturbance at Metacritic
  9. ^ Domestic Disturbance :: :: Reviews. Retrieved 2010-11-23.

External linksEdit