Ba-da-da-da-da! They aren’t loving it. That’s because Donny, Vic, and Dave are all divorced Dad’s who only get their children on the weekend and are dealing with the varied difficulties of the situation. Can they come to understand what divorce means and grow as people… uh… before it’s too late? Find out in… Bye Bye Love.
How?! Donny, Vic, and Dave are a group of divorcees struggling with coparenting. While Donny still pines for his ex-wife, Vic hates his and Dave can’t stop sleeping around (the cause of his first marriage’s demise). While the love of their children are often at odds with these struggles surrounding their ex-wives, they are not at odds with their #1 love: that sweet, sweet Mickey D’s. They look forward to picking up their kids not only because they love them but also because of the oasis of those Golden Arches. Your kids on the younger side? They’ll love the play place. They getting a little older? Let them ogle the rebel teen manning the cash register. They getting really old? Maybe they can take part in the McMasters program. No matter how old they are they’ll love the delicious hamburgers that no red-blooded American can resist… wait, what were we talking about? Oh right, Bye Bye Love. So anyway Donny is having trouble with his high school age kid who is growing out of weekends with Dad while also having trouble getting over his wife. This culminates in him finding love with Dave’s ex-wife (his long-time friend) and realizing that his selfish struggles with the divorce have made him shortsightedly overlook how hard it’s been on his daughter. Meanwhile Dave makes a right mess of a love polygon as a number of recent divorcees descend on his house wanting more than just to share his Big Mac. Through this debacle he learns that he needs to grow up. Finally Vic is a total boor who can’t help but get riled up by his ex-wife’s post-divorce lifestyle. But in the end you realize how much he has worked to be the best Dad he can be and that this troll of a man is actually a softy at heart (awww). I guess, in summary… this film didn’t really have much of a plot. THE END.
Why?! Love, duh. Seriously, the film is just three vignettes that give viewpoints on the struggles of a post-divorce love when children are involved. Three very white and very heteronormative viewpoints, which would have certainly not been the case if this was a film made today, but three viewpoints nonetheless. I think the moral of the story is that kids come first, and as long as that is kept in mind then everything will work out. Even if you seem like a terrible person, like Vic, everything is golden (arches) if you’re ba-da-da-da-da, lovin’ them (your kids).
Who?! There were a couple bit parts for future notable actors, the biggest being Jack Black who played a DJ at a party and has a single line. Additionally, Stephen Root showed up uncredited as a neighbor awakened by Eliza Dushku’s hijinks. The weirdest credit, though, is a special thanks for the Hon. Arthur J. O’Dea. He seems to have been a judge in Vermont… the only explanation is that he was used as a consultant for the script as it does appear he was a family court judge.
What?! Product Placement Alert! We occasionally get to talk about settings as a character. It’s much more rare to talk about products as a character (outside of Adam Sandler’s filmography). But here, McDonald’s is legit a character and several scenes center around those working at the local McD’s (and only having a tenuous connection to the rest of the plot). I’m actually not sure whether the reason for its inclusion is even real… is McDonald’s really a generally accepted, neutral site drop off location for divorced dads in the LA area? All evidence (this movie) points to yes. Ba da da da daaaaaa. I was lovin’ it.
Where?! Classic California. It just feels like California even before there was specific confirmation. But eventually you get some close-ups on some license plates. No clues from McDonald’s as people of all nations crave their tasty treats.
When?! Pretty obviously takes place around the end of May or early June as one of Paul Reiser’s plot points is the graduation of his daughter from middle school. Not sure we get any more specific. Probably should look closely at the McDonald’s menu and see if there are any specific seasonal offerings on there… or perhaps the film coincides with one of the returns of the McRib, which would really narrow it down.
I really didn’t mind the film as a whole. I think it kinda has a clever dynamic between Donny, Vic, and Dave where on the face of it you think Dave has his shit together and is processing his divorce the best, while Vic’s boorish behavior and hatred for his ex-wife is off putting and Donny is kinda pathetic in never moving on from his ex-wife. But as the film goes on, you realize that it’s kinda flipped around. Vic is a great Dad and he and his ex-wife just really should not have been married, while Dave is a man-child who doesn’t really understand what a real relationship means… Donny is still kinda just sad, though. Anyway, the only thing that really sets this apart is the absolutely stellar McDonald’s product placement in the film. It really is top of the line and I’d love to go back through BMT’s nearly 500 (!) films and figure out where it stands. It’s in the running at the very top. It’s really fun to have a film that is mostly fine, but with a crazy BMT aspect to it like this one. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! Bye bye love, bye bye happiness, hello loneliness, I think I’m gonna grab a delicious Big Mac from McDonald’s. That’s how that song goes right? Let’s get into it!
P’s View on the Preview – The trailer and all of the notes were basically about how this was an extended advertisement for McDonald’s, so I got out my stop watch and got ready to count the TiMD’s for the episodes (that’s Time in McDonald’s, it’s not a real thing, and I did not really do this). It really was my entire fascination with the episode. Seeing Paul Riser and Matthew Modine act a bit had an outside shot of being interesting as well. My expectations for this film: It was going to be a weird, slow, boring film with a bizarre (but overblown) connection to McDonald’s.
The Good – The film has a much better message that I think it gets credit for. Quaid is a lunatic throughout, but they do go out of their way to show that while he ultimately manifests his mounting frustrations with his divorce in extremely destructive ways, he does love his kids and is arguably the best and least selfish father of the three. Similarly Modine seems to have everything together, a decent relationship with the ex and a girlfriend or two, but then he ends up being the most selfish and broken. The switcheroo on that level feels very earned and the film is an interesting tale of being divorced dads in the mid-90s. The highly touted Garofalo scene lived up to the hype as well, she was very funny.
The Bad – Could this film take place more in McDonald’s? It just felt the four or five scenes and probably 30 minute total run time just wasn’t enough. Tell me more about the McMasters program, and how it is helping unemployed seniors change careers late in life. Tell me more about how it is helping combat the adult homelessness problem in America. Ba-da-da-da-da I’m Lovin’ It! The film also feels very small in that everything in the three main characters lives come to a major crossroads all on the same day. Quaid is such a lunatic it is a wonder he wasn’t thrown in jail in the middle of the film (and then where would your kids be, dummy?). It was borderline mean-spirited. The entire structure of the film centers around a radio psychologist played by Rob Reiner which is very dated and in your face. But I guess without him the movie would literally have no structure.
The BMT – Sneaky great BMT. You know you have a weirdly good one when you can’t stop thinking about it for a few days and then end up writing a giant review where you probably miss about 14 things that blew your mind at the time. I basically didn’t mention Paul Reiser! He’s the main character! His storyline just doesn’t even end up in the review it is so tangential to the b-b-b-b-b-b-bonkers shit I’m seeing on screen. Sneaky great. Did it exceed expectations?: Yes! While weird and slow, the film was far from boring by being chockablock with McDonald’s. So much so that is amazing the McDonald’s executives saw the cut and didn’t say, “Yeah … but don’t you think there is too much McDonald’s?”
Roast-radamus – I mean … I would be shocked if this didn’t manage to win the Produce Placement (What?) award for McDonald’s. I think when I was a kid I got this movie in a Happy Meal, I swear to God. Does graduation count as a holiday? No? … fine. Definitely a contender in the BMT category as well. Really the entire legacy of this film rests on its status as a Mac and Me level product placement. It is right up there with Mac and Me.
StreetCreditReport.com – None! But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve it. I think if you made a list of worst films featuring McDonald’s it could have a shot. Or worst film focused on divorced dads. Worst Rob Reiner films? I guess you’d have to go with ones he’s acted in … Worst films which share a name with a song?
You Just Got Schooled – What could I possibly watch for this weirdo movie? Mad About You season 1 episode 1 starring Paul Reiser of course. While making this film he was in the middle of this series for which he was nominated for six emmys (he never won, he lost to Lithgow three times for 3rd Rock and Grammer three times for Fraiser). I have to say, now being thirty-something and married this series seems actually genuinely funny. Quaint, but not really old school, the first episode revolves around Hunt and Reiser trying to make time to have sex, and as a forgotten dinner party begins they end up having sex in the kitchen as the party is ongoing! Cheers would have went up to that door, but never really gotten through it, but this is the 90s, it was time to talk about being Master of Your Domain, and other more sexually explicit things in primetime. I don’t feel any particular need to actually watch the series, but a lot better than I expected. Fun to see the classic sitcom character as well: the friend who is only in one season and then disappears in Reiser’s friend Selby.