Getting Even with Dad (1994)

"You dating yet?" "I'm 11." - Ted Danson and Macaulay Culkin

There's one really good scene in GETTING EVEN WITH DAD, the failed
father-and-son frolic starring odd couple Ted Danson and Macaulay
Culkin.  Danson plays Ray, a robber whose son (Culkin) stashed the stash
of dad's last haul. Timmy will tell, but on one condition: if father
collects then son ain't staying. (He knows the cops are close and
doesn't want dad to disappear. He'd rather go back and live with his

Said scene unfolds at a bus station. Ray has just placed his boy on a
bus and, walking away, is trying to decide if he wants the cash over the
kid.  The cops are watching, of course, and they'll round-up Ray the
moment he unlocks the locker containing the cache.

The scene is great:  Danson steps from the bus, stops, and thinks.  He
looks back, pauses, and keeps walking. Cut to Culkin, looking sad.  Cut
back to Danson, stopped again. Thinking.  All while the cops-- and the
audience-- are watching.

Forget the rest of the film-- this is one of those great, dopey
Hollywood moments when a character comes to life right before our eyes.
We swoon to these simple emotions, shamelessly holding our breath as we
wait for Ray's decision. Will he?  Won't he?  It's great schmaltz and
the very reason we go to the movies.

Too bad that most of the audience will have either left or fallen asleep
by this time.

Hardly anything is worth watching in the first hour of GETTING EVEN
WITH DAD. Danson is sincere and that's about it. His glued-on ponytail
is more interesting than co-star Culkin, though, who sleepwalks through
his scenes.

Gailard Sartain and Saul Rubinek are mildly amusing as Ray's
unaccomplished accomplices. One inspired moment has Tweedledumb and
Tweedledumber trying to rob a collection box. Stay awake and hear
Sartain yell "Wow!  Nun!" to great effect.  Glenne Headly is the
strangest find-- a rookie cop who pathetically falls for Danson. Ugh.

Forget either the script or the direction.  Here's a film that features
two, count 'em two, musical montages *and* Macaulay Culkin doing bad
lipsynch. Shudder. (Maybe the title is a secret stab at Kit Culkin, who
must be wondering why he consented to this slop.)

The saving grace is that GETTING EVEN WITH DAD delivers a
well-intentioned message, as best exemplified in the aforementioned
scene. Too bad the film sucks. (Rated "PG"/108 min.)

Grade: D+

Copyright 1994 by Michael J. Legeros

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