Chevy Chase may get top billing but the movie’s one-sheet – with Jonathan Taylor Thomas dangling a puppet-size Chase on strings – is more indicative of its real focus and appeal.
Unfortunately, Thomas (from TV’s Home Improvement and also the voice of young Simba in The Lion King) is stuck playing a character so bratty at first that adults may wonder why someone hasn’t throttled the kid, his wry one-liners notwithstanding.
Produced through Bette Midler’s company and that of James Orr and Jim Cruickshank, with Orr also directing, the simple premise has Jack Sturges (Chase), a district attorney, trying to win over Ben (Thomas), the young son of the woman he plans to marry (Farrah Fawcett). Abandoned by his real dad and therefore wary of potential suitors, Ben schemes to get Jack out of the picture. The subplot, limited at best, involves a mobster (Richard Portnow) plotting a somewhat more dire revenge against Jack.
The gags concocted by Cruickshank and Orr (their previous collaborations include Sister Act 2 and 3 Men and a Baby) at best approach the level of a standard sitcom. Chase is less manic than in some previous incarnations despite a few moments of physical comedy, while Fawcett has little to do but look radiant and occasionally stern.
Tech credits are generally sound, with Vancouver standing in for neighboring Seattle.