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I'm willing to spend a couple of centuries in purgatory to have a laughing fit at your expense!

Author: sol1218 from brooklyn NY
3 October 2006

(There are Spoilers) Hard to follow movie about a control freak who want's to keep things the way they are with his iron-clad grip on his ex-wife and three daughters one from another marriage. Guardian newspaper owner and editor Buddy Keys, Dick Van Dyke,is on a personal vendetta against corrupt Florida businessman Elkay Hibbard, Burke Byrnes, and is using his paper to expose Hibbards seedy and underhanded business and political practices, one of them is buying off the city's district attorney for $250,000.00.

We never know for sure but it's obvious that Hibbard is behind a number of incidents that have Buddy's reputation almost destroyed. One includes Buddy getting caught with a hooker Desirae, Lisa London, at the sleazy Trade Winds motel and later having his famous Snake Ranch burned down in a mysterious fire, that revealed that Buddy was illegally shipping exotic birds into the country.

Taking care of his two grown daughters Diana and Mary Hope, Kale Vernn & Daphne Ashbrook, is a full time job for the beleaguered Buddy but when the third daughter, from another marriage, Lisa (Angela Alvarado) shows up from Miami he feels that she's independent enough, with him not having had to look after her all these years, that he puts her in charge of his newspaper The Guardian. Having a multi-part story in the works about Hibbard and his criminal dealings makes Hibbard's wife Trina, Marj Dusay, who also happens to be Buddy's first wife, and mother of Diana & Mary Hope, come over to his place one evening and give Buddy a piece of her mind. As both Buddy and Trina have it out, and out of hearing rage, Lisa looking out of her window sees her step-mother drive off hysterically in her car. The next morning Trina is found dead in the swamp where he car ended up after going over a guard rail.

The movie back-tracks in what exactly was happening between Buddy and Hibbard and we learn that Buddy was being set up from the inside by people, secretly working for Hibbard, that he trusted. We also find out how helpless the girls, excluding the very independent Lisa, and their mom Trina were without Buddy secretly looking after them. In fact it was that very reason, when Trina was told the truth by Buddy, that lead to Trina's death.

Nothing new in this movie about how hard it is for the rich and pampered, as well as drug addicted, to be able to face the real world and come to grips with it. Buddy's control, outwardly as well as hidden, of everyone that he loved and cared for in some ways did work by his giving them the feeling that they can't survive, outside of his control, on their own. It was only when the girls Mary Hope & Diana, and especially Trina, found out the truth the results were so stunning as well heart-breaking to the point of, in the case of Trina, one of them mindlessly killing herself.

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Father of scandal, Daughters of resentment.

Author: mark.waltz from United States
30 November 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It must be hard to be a wealthy patriarch who is part tycoon, part clown. Dick Van Dyke could be a fine dramatic actor, but sadly here, he has been handed the most tedious of scripts that back in 1981 made me long for the glory days of the nighttime soap opera.

He's the father of three daughters from two ex-wives, one of them an unseen Mexican woman, the other the mysteriously troubled Marj Dusay. The two oldest daughters have strangely undeveloped love lives in the script, one moment trashy and seemingly sadomasochistic in nature. This leads the youngest daughter with the most interesting part, taking over Van Dyke's newspaper in a sequence almost a carbon copy of what you could have seen on "Dynasty" years before. Dusay's character had the potential to be another Alexis with her years of daytime experience playing similar characters, one of them (Alexandra Spaulding, "Guiding Light") ironically played briefly also by Joan Collins.

Their tables twist after a convoluted confrontation between Van Dyke and Dusay over her romance with an alleged crooked businessman won he was trying to expose. The screenplay is missing much needed detail to try to make any sense. It may have been also extremely badly edited. At the time this first aired, Dusay had just made a brief return to the daytime soap opera "Santa Barbara" as a troubled ex-wife dealing with resentments towards her powerful ex- husband. Her week long return to that show was Shakespeare in comparison to this.

There are much better sagas about dysfunctional families and half the problem is that Dusay's character, the most interesting in what remains, seems to have been greatly diluted in the final product. Her two daughters don't even have a leg to stand on in twice as many scenes as she had, coming off a sloppy second and third. I wish I could find something to recommend other than that, but this just ends up being a badly written soap opera where the author felt that just because they were putting words on paper that the final result would make sense. Sorry, not.

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