Father and Scout (1994)

Written by Sheldon Bull & Hoyt Hilsman
Directed by Richard Michaels
Starring Bob Saget, Brian Bonsall, Heidi Swedberg, Stuart Pankin, David Graf


Released by New Line Cinema
Rating: PG
Region: 1
Anamorphic: Yes.

My Advice: Avoid it.

Spencer Paley (Saget) isn't exactly what you would call a manly man. He's Artistic, you see, which of course means that he is an absolute wuss when it comes to anything that involves testosterone--except, of course, fathering a child. Herein lies the problem. You see, Michael (Bonsall), a Real Man in the making, is having issues because his dad is constantly worried about Michael getting hurt or...well, anything, really. But now, there's a "Dad and Lad" camping excursion in the works...and without his dad, Michael can't go. So Spencer screws up what little Artistic courage he has and decides to brave the Great Outdoors for the sake of his son.

Sorry for the backlash on behalf of the Artists With Penises Assocation, but come on: it's fairly obvious what's going on here. It's a film about a overprotective, neurotic dad coming to terms with being a father that isn't afraid to let his son live (or in this case, live himself too). It's a concept that can be executed nearly flawlessly (Finding Nemo) or in a half-assed, overblown, opposite-end-of-the-spectrum-from-subtle way (this film). Why they had to throw in the egghead factor on Saget's character is beyond me.

What's surprising is that the film really isn't Saget's fault, to be truthful. He's playing the neurotic whackjob patriarch to a tee, but he trouble is the script makes him into a one note character with an arc that's just inescapably lame. Thus, he has nothing to do but stand around, crack bad jokes and be so annoying you actually hope that his own son stakes him out in the sun for the ants to devour. The rest of the cast is as forgettable.

There are no features to speak of on the disc, except for the Pick That Flick! game which "challenges" young viewers to identify other New Line titles. I'm not sure, after viewing the film, what features could possibly add to the already weak package, to be honest. The script is so terribly bland and the direction uninteresting that I have no idea why I would want to sit through a commentary or even a smoke-blowing featurette.

Make no mistake, though: if you have very small kids who don't know what a good movie is, they might like this. But why get them off on the wrong foot? Best to just turn and walk away.

Discuss the review in the Needcoffee.com Gabfest!

Greetings to our visitors from the IMDB, OFCS, and Rotten Tomatoes!
Stick around and have some coffee!