Father’s Day has nothing new to add to the world of film comedy. Robin Williams and Billy Crystal are funny, but not memorably so. In short, this is a perfect example of a flat, take-it-or-leave-it, yet not too bad 2½ star movie.
Williams plays Dale Putley (oops, just gave away one of the jokes), an unpublished writer of poems and plays on the verge of suicide. It is impossible to imagine any character played by the animated Williams committing suicide, but we need to know that Dale is a quirky loser. This is a very good character type for Williams, if a little restrictive for his style, and it allows him some funny dialog.
Crystal plays Jack Lawrence, an uptight lawyer on his third wife. This is a very good role for Crystal. He usually plays a whiny east coast Jew, (which I always anticipate finding annoying, but usually end up liking), and this role suits him perfectly.
Seventeen years ago, both Dale and Jack had a fling with the same woman, Collette (Nastassja Kinsky). Now, she tells them each (separately) that he is the father of her son Scott (Charlie Hofheimer). Not only that, but Scott has run away and she needs help tracking him down. Each, separately, agrees to go in search of his long lost son.
Dale and Jack eventually meet and team up to find Scott.
For the most part, Father’s Day is an extended comedy sketch. If you know Robin Williams and Billy Crystal, then you already know what this movie is going to be like. There are very few surprises, which in this case, is not necessarily bad. Perhaps the only scene that really stands out in the movie’s favor is a brief cameo of a well-known action movie star as a Pierced Wonder (nose rings, eyebrow rings, etc.).
There are also some scenes which make this movie A Movie, and not pure comedy. Frankly, the movie would have been better off without them. The first scene is one of the few in which Williams is given some room to maneuver. Unfortunately, it comes off as an old trick reaching for insincere laughs. It is a montage of Williams practicing the phrase “I’m your dad” in the mirror in several different voices and costumes. This is the stuff Williams is good at, but it comes right after his character tried to commit suicide. Is Williams playing the quirky loser Dale or is Williams playing himself? This scene says that the filmmakers don’t really care.
The other scene(s) that should have been left out involved two caricatured drug dealers hunting down Scott. The conflict of a runaway teen and the question of paternity was all the conflict this movie needed. Introducing the conflict of the drug dealers detracted from the everyday human quality that the other conflicts brought to the movie.
I did laugh. Williams and Crystal can make almost always make me laugh. But there is nothing in Father’s Day that you can’t find better somewhere else.