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Fathers' Day Review

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Jack and Dale have nothing in common - except that they both slept with the same woman around the same time a few years ago. Now she has turned up again, with a son that one of them fathered.

★★★★★

Jack (Crystal) is a lawyer with a knack for head-butting people. "How Joe Pesci of you," says Dale (Williams) the author of such unproduced Broadway classics as Hello Doctor - It's Still Swollen.

Jack and Dale have nothing in common, save for the fact that 17 years earlier they both slept with Colette (Kinski). But when her son Scott (Charlie Hofheimer) runs away to follow a rock band and their groupie, she enlists the help of both men, telling each that he may be the father. They soon find out about each other, team up, track down Scott and - hey! - learn something about what it means to be a parent.

Adapted from yet another hit French comedy (Les Comperes), Fathers' Day is another example of a sharp edge reduced to a flabby middle. The set-up is unveiled in such a lacklustre manner that, after the opening Paul McCartney number has come and gone, you'd be forgiven for not even noticing the film has begun.

That said, the strength of the movie clearly lies in the teaming of two of Hollywood's greatest comic talents. Ironically, the film's greatest failing actually becomes its saving grace, as Williams and Crystal find their own rhythm with the material and deliver some much needed laughs. The audience expectations with the pairing may well be for high intensity, all-out gags, but they choose to go the other way, gently playing off each other in an assured, winning and ultimately warm-without-the-schmaltz way. A Lemmon and Matthau for the Saturday Night Live generation no less.

A very text-book example of two actors better than the material, Crystal and Williams do their best but can't elevate this far.