The one element of Affluenza that did have some punch and some originality was Steve Guttenberg in the role of the angry, money-hungry Long Island parent. Guttenberg was The Golden Boychik of 1980s movies with boyish face, innocent Bambi eyes and warm personality. He was always so likable in popular movies like Three Men and a Baby, Cocoon, Diner and the Police Academy comedies.
As for Danny Burstein, his character is an example of the script's missed opportunities. He plays a gentle, divorced relative. The reason for the divorce should've gotten more attention. The divorced man is Ira Miller, related to the young photographer, Fisher Miller. Ira's caustic brother is Phil Miller, played by Steve Guttenberg. An opening scene with ill-tempered Phil being insensitive to Ira in the car as family leaves a funeral service left me wanting to know why Phil was so angry at his brother's truthfulness. Is he jealous because his brother's life has more substance? Because his brother is happier? How does this affect the young observer/photographer, Fisher? That car scene is where we first see the Guttenberg dramatic chops in Affluenza.
I've seen Danny Burstein on Broadway. I've seen him on TV in HBO's Boardwalk Empire and on Louie starring Louis C.K. He's really got the gift. He can be big onstage. He also knows how to iris in, bring the performance in and do less for the movie and/or TV camera. There needed to be more of his character in Affluenza. If any adult in that movie should've been a role model to those kids, it's his character, Ira. There is light in his soul. Phil has been corrupted by wealth. Danny is beloved on Broadway. He's gotten great notices and nominations for his smart, inspired work in revivals of Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific, Stephen Sondheim's Follies and the current production of Cabaret. But I sure would love it if Hollywood tossed him some of the scripts it usually gives to Stanley Tucci. (For example -- think of Tucci in The Devil Wears Prada and Julie & Julia with Meryl Streep and as the funny, supportive dad opposite Emma Stone's delightful character in the sophisticated teen comedy, Easy A.)
Young black rappers from low-income neighborhoods and economically-challenged home lives want to make big money and live large like those privileged white dudes on Long Island. They want to move up in class and status and income. They want that privilege and access and those opportunities. Rarely do you see a film about carefree black/Latino youth and hear one character in party scene say, "Oh, my father's gonna hook me up with a good job." You do hear that sort of thing from a character in Affluenza.