Review: ‘Paternity’

There are several funny bits in Paternity a harmless enough romantic comedy that strangely has its strongest laughs in its least important scenes. But the basic story of a successful 44-year-old man who decides to fulfill his desire for fatherhood by pacting with a woman to have his child never comes across with much punch.

There are several funny bits in Paternity a harmless enough romantic comedy that strangely has its strongest laughs in its least important scenes. But the basic story of a successful 44-year-old man who decides to fulfill his desire for fatherhood by pacting with a woman to have his child never comes across with much punch.

The idea behind the film is a charming one and Reynolds manages to evoke the sensitivity needed to make his character’s desires seem believable. Charlie Peters’ script comes through in odd moments, usually in the form of witty visual asides superfluous to the primary action. Much of the latter is also due to the hand of first time director David Steinberg, whose style clearly owes to his wonderfully snide point of view as a successful standup comic.

While Reynolds and D’Angelo make a nice enough onscreen couple, they just don’t provide the sparks needed to light up a romantic comedy.

Paternity

Production

Paramount. Director David Steinberg; Producer Lawrence Gordon, Hank Moonjean; Screenplay Charlie Peters; Camera Bobbie Byrne; Editor Donn Cambern; Music David Shire; Art Director Jack Collis

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1981. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Burt Reynolds Beverly D'Angelo Paul Dooley Elizabeth Ashley Lauren Hutton
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