A family takes on the difficult task of learning how to get along with one another in this emotional comedy drama. Alex Gromberg (Michael Douglas) is a middle-aged man who feels caught in the middle of his familial obligations as he muddles he way through a midlife crisis. While a successful businessman, Alex sometimes still feels as if he's under the shadow of his father, Mitchell Gromberg (Kirk Douglas), a successful attorney whose skills in the courtroom outstripped his gifts as a parent. Elderly Mitchell has recently survived a stroke, and Alex and Mitchell want to mend their relationship while there's still time, but making it so proves difficult, even with Alex getting advice from his wife, psychologist Rebecca (Bernadette Peters), and Mitchell being prodded by his long-suffering wife, Evelyn (Diana Douglas). Alex is also trying to reach out to his two sons, who are as different as night and day; college student Asher (Cameron Douglas) is an aspiring club DJ who seems to be styling himself to bear no resemblance to his father, while 11-year-old Eli (Rory Culkin) is an overly serious lad who is having trouble navigating the first steps of adolescence. It Runs in the Family marked the first time Kirk Douglas acted in a film with his son Michael Douglas; adding to the family atmosphere was Michael's son Cameron Douglas, working with his family for the first time, and Diana Douglas, Kirk's former wife and Michael's mother.