New movie ‘Dad’ proves to be dud

By Gary Schlueter

Picture this:

The film “Dad” is playing in the DeKalb area and was skillfully directed by a protege of Steven Spielberg. It contains top-notch performances from the well-balanced cast of Jack Lemmon, Ted Danson and Olympia Dukakis.

“Where does the line form?” you ask?

Save your nickels. This enormous display of artistic talent and effort has been squandered on a laughable, sappy and predictable screenplay that reads like a jar of honey.

Writer-director Gary David Goldberg nestled comfortably under the wing of Spielberg in the studios of Amblin Entertainment, wrote “Dad” specifically for the screen with the premise of dissecting the emotional characteristics that love has between father and son. These characteristics are certainly too numerous and varied to be covered in whole by his napkin-sized attempt.

The story revolves around a routine-ridden elderly couple (Lemmon and Dukakis), their two children (Danson and Kathy Baker) and son—a product of a failed marriage.

Danson, back home from New York to assist during his mother’s illness, begins to realize the valuble time lost while off pursuing his career.

During this time , he helps his father become adjusted to life on his own. They shop, do the laundry, learn to drive again and even find time for a lovely (cough) game of catch.

This feeling is extended when Danson’s son (Ethan Hawke) shows up. Maybe it’s not too late for this father and son team to become part of each other’s lives.

Maybe it’s not too late for someone to break all of Goldberg’s pencils.

Theory has it that first-time pullers of the heart strings have a tendency to yank too hard.

The link between both father/son pairs reaches an obscene peak when Danson relates a thought to his son that, just earlier, he heard from his father. “The world has changed, Johnny,” he says. “You can’t believe how the world has changed.”

Both Lemmon and Dukakis play their parts with skill, humor and respect for the generation they represent. Lemmon rarely leaves an audience feeling anything less than warm. After witnessing him in this syrup-strewn mess, no blame can be laid if “Dad” is left off his resume.

This film is enjoyable for fans of directing, editing, acting and cinematography (the most powerful shot in the film is when a comatose Lemmon is carried out of the hospital by his son).

For fans of emotion lured by realistic means: realize this film’s idiocy.