Reviewed by: Todd Adams
Starring: Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Nastassja Kinski, Charlie Hofheimer, Bruce Greenwood | Director: Ivan Reitman | Released by: Warner Bros
“Father’s Day” is a very funny movie and a pleasant surprise. It provides a lot of laughs while openly dealing with some difficult issues.
To be honest, I did not want to see “Fathers' Day” initially. It has an offensive sounding premise. A mother’s teenage son Scot (Chris Hofheimer) runs away. Her husband will not chase after him expecting Scot to return on his own. Wanting desperately to find Scot, she contacts two men, Jack (Billy Crystal) and Dale (Robin Williams)—both old boyfriends with whom she had romantic relationships many years ago. To incite them to help her, each man is told that he is Scot’s legitimate father. Responding to their newly discovered status as a father, each man begins the pursuit.
“Fathers' Day” does not proceed to condone sexual sin as many Hollywood films do. In fact, the adult relationships in “Fathers' Day” are all moral, and the adults take responsibility for their mistakes. The real consequences of sin are apparent. This movie actually pokes some fun at the glorification of sin in the teenager party scene. Drunkenness, for example, is not shown as a fantasy beer advertisement but rather as true-to-life back-alley barfing. This responsible and realistic approach to adult and teenage issues is refreshing.
Unfortunately, some suggestive sexual humor does unnecessarily enter the script, and “Fathers' Day” is not without offense. This is not a movie for children. Overall, however, the language and content is mild for PG-13.
“Fathers' Day” is a rewarding view on two fronts: First, and surprisingly, “Fathers' Day” deals with some real life teen vs. adult conflict issues—such as rebellion, alcohol, teenage love, and adult depression—quite tactfully. Glimpses of why teenagers sometimes rebel, and how much parents really can love their teenagers are very evident. “Fathers' Day” bridges the “generation gap” effectively, giving both teens and adults a fair view of the “other” generation.
Secondly, “Fathers' Day” is afterall a comedy, and it delivers. Robin Williams as a manic/depressive father is hilarious and appropriate. His sincere and zany character Dale—though having personal problems—understands the teenager viewpoint with both the innocence of a child and the wisdom of an older adult, with a very funny result. Dale’s character bridges the “generation gap” both humorously and effectively revealing that parents and their teenagers all have the same fundamental needs and struggles within them. With regards to this movie as a whole, the combination of all three main characters going through both conflicts and resolutions together in this entertaining plot results in a witty and comic ride for the viewer.
I can recommend “Fathers' Day” for Christian viewing minus a few sexually suggestive and offensive lines. Overall, I think it would be a fine and enjoyable view for teenagers and parents to take in together. Viewers who place a personal importance on not watching the difficult issues which this film presents might find this movie offensive. Viewers who are in denial about the sins alluded to might find themselves quite uncomfortable. Otherwise, “Fathers' Day” should provide viewers with a lot of laughs and the potential for some interesting discussions.