June walks out on her husband, Robert, and three young sons, Kes, Michael and Ben without explanation. Years later, hearing that her husband is filing for divorce and planning to marry the boy's school principal, she returns trying to win back her family.
Twelve-year-old Kes (Luke Edwards) stabs a dead frog several times in biology dissection class and is taken to see the principal, Callie (Whalley-Kilmer), with whom he is on first name terms, since she is romantically involved with his soon-to-be divorced father Robert (Gallagher). Meanwhile, Kes' mother Jude (Curtis), who walked out on the family several years previously, returns to fight the divorce in the belief she will regain not only her three sons but also her husband.
Posing as a parent, Jude visits the school to interview Callie and size up the competition before embarking on a campaign to win back her boys' affections, seduce Robert and terrorise Callie. Having made her name as a scream queen in Halloween, Curtis here relishes dishing out the mayhem herself, alternately smiling at her family and glowering
as soon as their backs are turned. But director Simoneau fails to exploit Curtis' potential, weighed down as it is by a lukewarm supporting cast. The three boys barely improve on Gallagher and Whalley-Kilmer's decidedly average performances, while Vanessa Redgrave as Jude's mother is merely an afterthought. Kes' out-of-the-ordinary revulsion at the sight of frogs goes largely unexplored, as does his relationship with his mum who cheerfully asks him to examine her caesarean scar while she's in the bath. Worse still, Jude illegally teaches Kes to drive, solely for the purpose of a ludicrous plot payoff involving various characters inside, atop and beneath the family car while it's poised perilously on a ledge.
What begins as a heart-stopping thriller soon succumbs to cliche-ridden predictability, with a hilariously clumsy narrative.