'Father's Day:' Oh, Grow Up!
May 10, 1997
Web posted at: 5:18 p.m. EDT (2118 GMT)
From Reviewer Carol Buckland
(CNN) -- Call me suspicious, but when Hollywood releases a
film called "Father's Day" just in time for Mother's Day
weekend, I start to wonder whether the people involved don't
have a problem with timing.
Well, I'm wondering no more. They do.
"Father's Day" is a draggy disappointment. Despite the comic
charisma of Billy Crystal and Robin Williams, the movie is
surprisingly laugh-deficient. What yuks there are strictly
schtick; They have little or nothing to do with the story.
That story happens to be adapted from a delightful French
film called "Les Comperes." Released in the United States in
1984, it was a fine odd-couple farce starring Pierre Richard
and (almost inevitably) Gerard Depardieu.
The plot of the American film is put in motion when the teen-
age son of a woman called Colette (played by a blond and
surprisingly bland Nastassia Kinski) runs away. Desperate to
find him, she contacts two former lovers (Crystal and
Williams). After informing each that he is the boy's dad,
she pleads for help in tracking the kid down. The two men
set out on their paternal quests separately, but quickly
Crystal's character is a thrice-married, buttoned-down lawyer
with an inexplicable fondness for headbutting. His is the
straight man role, and he contributes some sharply sardonic
moments. He is the closest thing this movie has to a
Williams' character is an insecure, immature would-be
poet/playwright. He relies on a lot of familiar routines.
While his seemingly spontaneous riffing seemed hilarious a
decade ago, it's getting pretty old.
Also on hand: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Crystal's character's
third wife and Bruce Greenwood as Kinski's husband.
Louis-Dreyfus is appealing, although she seems a bit
uncertain about what she's supposed to be doing in several
scenes. Greenwood spends a lot of the film stuck in a
Charlie Hofheimer is good as the runaway son, lending some
dimension to a very flat role. There's also a clever cameo
with Mel Gibson.
The script is uninspired. A subplot involving drug dealing
is particularly lame; it's neither well-developed nor
satisfactorily resolved. Ivan Reitman's direction is
formulaic in the extreme. The look of the film seems
curiously cheap and washed out.
"Father's Day's" has a few laugh-out-loud sequences, but it's
nothing to celebrate.
This films runs 99 minutes. It is rated PG-13. There is
some mild profanity (Williams' dialogue gets a rather blue at
times) and several sexual situations.
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