Getting Even With Dad

Directed by Howard Deutch. Starring Macaulay Culkin, Ted Danson, Glenne Headly, Saul Rubinek, Gailard Sartain, Kathleen Wilhoite, Hector Elizondo. (1994, PG, 108 min.)

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., June 24, 1994

What can I say? Macaulay Culkin does what he does best -- the cute kid left to his own wits in a world full of adult boobs. Ted Danson does what he now does best -- the good-looking guy with limited wits who gets by in a world full of scams. Here, he expands his range by wearing a visibly stapled-on ponytail. Culkin has top billing. That may be all you need to know. Danson plays an ex-con cake decorator Ray, who is about to pull off a theft of antique coins with his two buddies, Bobby (Rubinek), the PG-sleazy one, and Carl (Sartain), the dumb, fat one. Only problem is that Ray becomes unexpectedly saddled with caretaking his son Timmy (Culkin). Timmy, of course, wants Dad to go straight and since he is much smarter than Dad, he foils their plans by hiding their ill-gotten loot. Holding it as blackmail, Timmy then forces Dad to spend time with him and take him to places seemingly chosen by the San Francisco Tourist Bureau -- a ballgame, the aquarium, an amusement park, and the like. There is also a detective (Headly) following their every move and she, of course, being a smart cop, falls deeply in love with Ray and his motherless son. Director Deutch is a graduate of the John Hughes School of Filmmaking (Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful, The Great Outdoors) which regards “cloying”as just another word for “sweet.” Ridiculous plot, dumb characters, foolish dilemmas. The only point to this movie is to make Macaulay a millionaire.

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