On Christmas Eve, a little girl named Marie (Cohen) falls asleep after a party at her home and dreams herself (or does she?) into a fantastic world where toys become larger than life. Her ... See full summary »
A cowardly boy who buries himself in accident statistics enters a library to escape a storm only to be transformed into an animated illustration by the Pagemaster. He has to work through obstacles from classic books to return to real life.
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Ray, an ex-con and widower, is planning a coin heist with two accomplices to help him to buy his own bakery. However, he doesn't expect his son Timmy, who was living with Ray's sister, to show up at the house right in the middle of planning. Timmy is ignored and Ray and his buddies pull off the heist. Timmy gets his father's attention by stealing the coins and hiding them. To get them back, his father must take him to a number of different places and treat him like he enjoys his presence. They grow fond of each other but Timmy won't stay with his dad unless he gives up the coins. Written by
When he was young, Macaulay Culkin consistently played incredibly street-smart kids with a knack for setting traps, catching bad guys, and outsmarting adults in a cute and memorable way. One wonders how his characters like Kevin McAlister or, in this case, Timmy Gleason fared in school, with classes like calculus, physics, and trigonometry requiring more book-smart level thinking. It's one thing to build an amateur trap; it's another being able to explain why the trap works and how it is triggered.
Getting Even With Dad marked Macaulay Culkin's last project for six years before appearing in a film adaptation of the stage play Madame Melville. His downfall could be attributed to many things, but Culkin was fourteen during the time of this film, already growing out of his cute-kid appearance and becoming more of an adult, as well as Getting Even With Dad's extremely poor box office performance after the kid was proved to be a solid cash-grab with two Home Alone projects. Even with this film, Culkin shows a certain tiredness to doing the same old schtick with little reward.
The film revolves around his character Timmy, whose mother died some years ago and who has been living with his aunt and her fiancée since the event. Planning to marry and get Timmy out of her hair, the aunt decides to drop Timmy off at his biological father's house, where both can meet each other and Timmy can have a place to stay. Timmy's dad turns out to be a petty-con by the name of Ray Gleason (Ted Danson), who is plotting with two amateur cronies Bobby and Carl (Saul Rubinek and Gailard Sartain) to steal a collection of rare coins. It is only obligatory that Timmy is smarter than all three of these cons put together, so when the gang actually do find the coins, he'll hide them in order to squeeze more quality time out of his father than he's willing to give (and also maybe have his hand at nudging a little romance in his direction on the side).
Getting Even With Dad is the classic case of a film biting off more than it can chew. The film tries to mesh themes of crime, romance, father-and-son bonding, slapstick comedy, and sentimentalist drama all into and it barely succeeds as a film detailing father-and-son bonding. It makes not knowing your father and then coming across him when you discover he's a petty crime out to be another instance to practically laugh off rather than one to be deeply upset about. Writers Tom S. Parker and Jim Jennewein (who also wrote the other Macaulay Culkin showcase of the same year Ri¢hie Ri¢h as well Major League II) had a golden opportunity to explore the sadness and the neglect of a father not being there for his son during crucial developmental years and then not even making a good too-little-too-late effort that, I believe, kids would've responded to much more than the mashup of cheesy themes we got with the end product of Getting Even With Dad.
The film was directed by Howard Deutch, who was responsible for directing both of John Hughes' screenplays Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful as well as other products such as the charming Great Outdoors and The Odd Couple II. Deutch's directing style has never been one to praise for its uniqueness, but even in projects such as The Odd Couple II, he always seemed to manage to squeeze something out of his performers and his crew. Here, however, there's little he can do to liven a slumping screenplay with too many different themes to tackle adequately.
Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Ted Danson, and Glenne Headly. Directed by: Howard Deutch.
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