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    Stanley Spector 

Stanley Spector

Played By: Jeremy Blackman

  • Alliterative Name: Stanley Spector.
  • Bookworm: He spends most of his time reading and carries a large numbers of books and encyclopedias to school
  • Butt-Monkey: Poor Stanley doesn't get a break once during the movie.
  • Break the Cutie: No thanks in part to his father.
  • Child Prodigy: The deconstruction of this trope is arguably the defining aspect of his character.
  • Promotion to Parent: Stanley, hurrying to get ready for school, reminds his father they're out of dog food: promptly — and almost imperceptibly — establishing which member of the Spector household is fully-engaged and responsible. In the green room — after the on-air meltdown of the show's host, and its brightest contestant — Daddy throws a tantrum (and a chair). Role reversal complete: as a parent, Rick has been invisible.
  • Potty Failure: On live TV, no less.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Beyond being on a game show.

    Frank T.J. Mackey 

Frank T.J. Mackey

Played By: Tom Cruise

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    Jimmy Gator 

Jimmy Gator

Played By: Philip Baker Hall & Thomas Jane

  • Abusive Parent: May have molested Claudia.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Can't actually recall whether he sexually abused his daughter, which (if so) altered her life from that point forward.
  • Depraved Family Game Show Host: Alcoholic, unfaithful, and may have molested his daughter.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Attempts to take his own life after his wife finds out that he quite possibly molested their daughter. However, the rain of frogs that occurs during the end of the film causes him to misfire his gun.
  • Parental Incest: With Claudia, though he's not 100% sure about it.
  • Secretly Dying: He has the same cancer Earl does.

    Phil Parma 

Phil Parma

  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Subverted. Phil looks to be going down this route when he orders a bunch of porn from a delivery service, but it turns out he was looking to find Frank's business number among the ads.
  • Nice Guy: One of the few normal, well-adjusted people in the entire movie.
  • Only Sane Man: Has to deal with caring for a dying man, the erratic mood of said man's wife, and tracking down the man's long-lost son. In spite of this, he keeps it together.

    Donnie Smith 

Donnie Smith

Played By: William H. Macy

    Linda Partridge 

Linda Partridge

Played By: Julianne Moore

    Officer Jim Kurring 

Off. Jim Kurring

Played By: John C. Reilly

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    Earl Partridge 

Earl Partridge

Played By: Jason Robards

    Claudia Wilson Gator 

Claudia Wilson Gator

Played By: Melora Waters

    Rose Gator 

Rose Gator

Played By: Melinda Dillon

  • Advertised Extra: Even though she introduces herself in one of the trailers like the rest of the characters, she has a more peripheral role, on part with Solomon Solomon.
  • Spear Carrier

    Rick Spector 

Rick Spector

Played By: Michael Bowen

  • Abusive Parent: He just doesn't let up on poor Stanley.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Downplayed but it seems that Rick knows he's abusive, even describing his actions as such to other parents, and doesn't seem too bothered by that fact.
  • Education Mama: An unscrupulous example.
  • Greed: His whole arc is dedicated to this.
  • Hate Sink: Most of the characters are too sympathetic or messed up to hate or have some redeeming traits. But Rick is just an asshole the whole way through.
  • Jerkass: Holy shit.
  • Only in It for the Money: Disgustingly so.
  • Slimeball: He's not exactly the most sophisticated manipulator around the block.

    Gwenovier 

Gwenovier

Played By: April Grace

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    Thurston Howell 

Thurston Howell

Played By: Henry Gibson

  • Foil: To Donny. Whereas Donny is a Straight Gay, naive, has an idealistic perspective on love, and a genuine crush on Brad the Bartener, Thurston is a somewhat Camp Gay cynic who uses money to get Brad's attention and sees the bartender as little more than a boy toy.

    Solomon Solomon 

Solomon Solomon

Played By: Alfred Molina


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