Reviewed by: Dale Mason
Starring: Tom Arnold, David Paymer, Rhea Perlman / Director: Arthur Hiller
The best thing that I can say about “Carpool” is that it is a reasonably well acted comedy. Viewers will especially like the performance of the show’s star, Tom Arnold. Unfortunately, Mr. Arnold (ex-husband of the famous foul-mouthed sitcom star, Roseanne) isn’t nearly as good at selecting scripts as he is at acting. Tasteless jokes, an all fluff storyline, car chases… not much more. In fact, this humorous movie amounts to little more than two middle-aged men and a carload of contentious kids evading the police.
“Carpool” is a poorly scripted comedy about a near-bankrupt carnival owner (Franklin Laszlo, played by Tom Arnold) who sets out early one morning to rob a bank (to save his business) but ends up foiling a grocery store heist then escaping with the cash himself. Seeking to make a smooth getaway he kidnaps a fellow shopper, businessman Daniel Miller (David Paymer) who just happens to be the reluctant driver for the neighborhood carpool that morning.
Speeding away from the scene of the crime Frank soon finds that he has six hostages, not just one. The mini-van is loaded with kids! (Not innocent little sweeties that you might feel sorry for. No. These are the kind of kids that most parents hope their own children will not grow up like.)
Although Frank the rookie-robber holds a handgun to his hostages, his humor and fun-spirited ways win their allegiance. Rather than running away when the opportunity arises, they choose to remain with their fugitive friend and continue helping him to elude dozens of police cars, helicopters, and motorcycles. In the end most of the characters “grow” to some degree—Frank returns the money to its owner, Daniel turns toward his children and away from his workaholic ways, etc.—but that small amount of sugary frosting on a story so filled with fluff does not excuse its many faults.
As if dumb humor were not enough, this flick includes 9 or 10 profanities and vulgarities, a couple sexually suggestive remarks, and a brief scene of a bare-bunned senior citizen. It is not a movie for anyone seeking a degree of depth or redemptive value, and is not one that parents seeking to guide their children toward Godliness will want to encourage their kids to view.