Urban Cinefile
"I thought we were only going to fight them!"  -Billy Connolly to Parachute regiment medical examiner’s observation ‘You’re not very big downstairs, are you?’
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday March 20, 2018 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



Two men-on-a-wild-boy-chase story; Jack Lawrence (Billy Crystal) is a successful Los Angeles attorney with a good job, a lovely wife, nice home and a great car. Dale Putley (Robin Williams), a would-be writer scraping out a threadbare existence in San Francisco, has been on the brink of despair for so long that he’s starting to enjoy the view. Suddenly, these two complete strangers and polar opposites, are sharing a car, pooling their wits and rethinking everything about themselves as they try to track down a teenage runaway that each believes might be his son.

"While it’s true that Father’s Day boasts the cast combination of Billy Crystal and Robin Williams, the film is actually not a showcase for either comic master. Instead, our high expectations for major endorphin activity, is dwindled into a few laughs, mostly on account of a sorry script. What movie magic this could have been with a hip and witty one! But having said that, this lightweight comedy will no doubt appeal to Crystal and Williams fans, who will savour the few priceless moments and hopefully forgive the rest. Billy Crystal is a very fine comic actor, and plays it wonderfully straight; Robin Williams is … well, Robin Williams. Crystal and Williams try to make a lot out of a little, although essentially, they are both doing their own thing: Crystal with his impeccable timing and Williams with his masterful absurdity. The head bashing scene at the rock concert is pure slapstick, and watch out for an irresistible cameo from Mel Gibson, who looks as though he is in a Mad Max time warp. The soundtrack - which features Paul McCartney’s song "Young Boy" under the title credits - is an upbeat, toe tapping one. Although not a great movie by any means, Father’s Day does offer some moments of comic magic here and there, and the warm moral undertone developed to tie all the loose ends up, brings a satisfying conclusion."
Louise Keller

It must have sounded irresistible to those cigar-chomping Hollywood executives: putting funnymen Williams and Crystal together in a movie and see the magic. Magic? I must have missed something. Hollywood can occasionally deliver the goods in a formulaic, mainstream kind of way, but this idea of building a vehicle around two indomitable screen talents, can only lend itself in disappointment. A script, guys, did anyone think of that? Sure, there are sporadic doses of inventive comedy, a one-liner here, a bit of business there, but for the most part, the business ain't funny business. Ivan Reitman directs here with enormous lethargy. There is not the sense of comic urgency that a Williams/Crystal vehicle demands, and the pair doesn't really make the weak material work. Williams does his usual schtick, which we've seen countless times, while Crystal is boring, plain and simple. The two never seem to be working TOGETHER, but delivering individual routines, shamelessly, to the audience, but with little regard to create an on-screen relationship. These two are comic geniuses, and if they were given some solid material with which to work, then the laughs would have been just as solid.
Paul Fischer

Email this article


CAST: Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Nastassja Kinski

PRODUCER: Joel Silver, Ivan Reitman

DIRECTOR: Ivan Reitman

SCRIPT: Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel (Based on film "Les Compere" by Francis Veber)


EDITOR: Sheldon Kahn, Wendy Greene Bricmont

MUSIC: James Newton Howard


RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes



© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2018