The Tenenbaum may be a family full of accomplished members, but it’s Henry Sherman (Danny Glover), who seeks to marry into the family, who may be the most accomplished of all. An accountant who’s written a book on personal finance, he’s also raised a son who (in contrast to the three grown Tenenbaum children) seems perfectly happy and well-adjusted. Plus, Henry can hold his own in a squabble, as he proves when his fiancee Etheline’s (Anjelica Huston) ex-husband, Royal (Gene Hackman) tries to pick a fight with him using arcane racial slurs.
Still, it’s endearing to watch him falter in the one area where he feels less than secure, in his awkward courtship of Etheline, who has her pick of accomplished men to choose from. That she picks Henry speaks both to her own good judgment and his quiet decency. (Had she married someone like him initially, instead of flamboyant blowhard Royal, her kids might have turned out happier, though the movie wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.) And if all that weren’t enough to recommend him, he has a goatee like Kofi Annan’s. How cool is that?