There are three very funny things about Fathers’ Day that I think have to be noted at the top… mostly because the rest of the film is less interesting. First, the punctuation in the title is magnificent. And this wasn’t lost in translation. The French film’s title was also a pun. Working overtime on the title so they didn’t have to work on anything else it seems. Second, Sugar Ray isn’t just featured in this film. The film basically stars Sugar Ray. Perfection. This was before they hit it big with “Fly” and they changed from nu metal to pop rock. So anyone who watches it now has to think that the premise that Billy Crystal and Robin Williams’ son ran off to follow Sugar Ray on the road is hilarious. But I guess in that very brief moment it was totally serious. Third, the wikipedia page says that some people speculate it was a big commercial failure because it was released on Mother’s Day. HA!
Anyway, the concept of the film is that Billy Crystal is an oft-married lawyer and Robin Williams is a suicidal writer. A woman they both briefly dated seventeen years ago comes a-knockin’ and is like ‘you are the father of my son and he’s missing.’ Billy Crystal is like ‘no way’ but still finds himself drawn to the search where he ends up running into Williams. Realizing the ruse, they set out on the road nonetheless because probably one of them is the father (right? Actually wrong… the lady is an admitted liar and you still aren’t going to question this? Sigh). They find him trashed at a Sugar Ray concert (who among us…) and get him back to their hotel room, but he turns out to be more than they bargained for. He’s still totally in love with a girl following Sugar Ray and wants to go after her. Awww. Oh and also he stole a bunch of money from some drug dealers to buy the girl a necklace. Oh, uh, less awwww. They go after the girl, but the drug dealers catch up with them and hilarity more-or-less ensues. Crystal is ready to abandon the search, but his new wife is like “uh, what kind of father are you?” and he realizes that he has to do right by his fake son. So he goes to the next Sugar Ray concert and he and Williams headbutt everyone to death to help their son escape (basically). Williams and Crystal are now best friends and neither of them are the father of the kid they saved. THE END.
I kinda wish this film was funnier. Or at least that it was funnier in all the bad ways. Cause the idea that the main thrust of the film stars Sugar Ray should be enough to take a film from ‘pretty funny’ to ‘hilarious.’ But that’s presuming the rest of the film can get it to ‘pretty funny.’ But no. It just meanders along. Sometimes it’s sweet, sometimes Robin Williams is asked to carry a heavy improv load, and sometimes it makes no sense. Feels like The Odd Couple II or something. Meh, I mean… I guess it is what it is.
Hot Take Clam Bake time. At the end of the film we see a family reconciled. So does it last? Does our prodigal son stay home for good? I’m gonna shock the world and say yeah. I mean, there he is laying on his bed, thinking of his girlfriend probably in bed with THE Sugar Ray, despite that also thinking of all the rad Sugar Ray moments he is missing when oh ho ho.. What’s this? The DJ on the radio is saying the new single from Sugar Ray is coming on. He turns it up. On comes “Fly” and he’s like WTF, mate? Put some more shrimp on the barbie, cause this isn’t the Sugar Ray I know and love. Where is the nu metal funkiness? This is just some pop rock sellout bullshit. He burns all his Sugar Ray posters and JNCO jeans and buys a suit, goes to college, and becomes a lawyer like his fake dad Billy Crystal. Years later on his deathbed he whispers “Mean Machine” before a wallet chain drops from his dead hand. Everyone is very confused. Hot Take Temperature: Nashville Hot. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! Fathers’ Day? More like Fathers’ Lame, amirite? Here are ten easy steps to making Billy Crystal and Robin Williams not at all funny. Let’s go!
- The reviewers on this film seemed confused as to how they made these actors not funny. I don’t think it is confusing at all if you’ve seen the original, because the original had, beat for beat, the same jokes. Except in the original it is Gerard Depardieu as a semi-sleezy journalist headbutting people whereas here is it … Billy Crystal still headbutting people? So you see, they just needed to let Billy Crystal and Robin Williams cook. But instead they took a French film (and all that that means in terms of a sense of humor) and applied them directly without alteration onto Billy Crystal and Robin Williams.
- For all its quirks Robin Williams still works for me. His tragic depressed clown thing seems pretty okay outside of the one montage where he is trying on hats and saying dumb catchphrases to himself … that was rough.
- Everyone else in the film I think doesn’t really work at all. Jared Harris as hardcore Sugar Ray fan / drug dealer? No thanks. Sugar Ray as themselves? Also no thanks. Billy Crystal and Julia Louis Dreyfuss might as well have not been there in the end. The kid is annoying. Bruce Greenwood is not nearly as Bad Dad as I would have hoped. More like Not So Bad Once You Get To Know Him Dad, you know?
- But Reno? Sugar Ray? A cast and crew to die for? What a weirdo film. Too bad it wasn’t funny bad and was instead just bad bad huh?
- The best ever Product Placement (What?) for Sugar Ray! That counts right? I’m counting it, they play such a huge amusing part in this film. Also a fantastic Setting as a Character (Where?) as both a road trip comedy, but also in it taking place in Reno, Nevada of all places for the final big Sugar Ray concert. Pretty hilarious MacGuffin (Why?) for their not-child they are chasing through the film. I think this is closest to Bad, just by, indeed, being aggressively unfunny.
- And I might as well do a tiny bit of a look at the original film called ComPère in a lot of places, which I think is a play off of compere (accomplice) and père (father), which is fun I suppose. The film also isn’t funny (although I could see people thinking it is), but at the very least Depardieu seems far more in place than Billy Crystal does in the same part. So I’ll give it that. I would never ever watch the film again, although it does make me intrigued by early Depardieu. Seems like an interesting actor in terms of how he eventually broke into Hollywood to some degree as well.
Read the never-to-be-seen 20-years-later sequel called Grandfathers’ Day (obviously, even though there are nary a grandfather to be seen in the entire film). Cheerios,