Monday, January 29, 2007

Dutch (1991)

Starring Ed O’Neill, Ethan Embry, JoBeth Williams, et al
Rated PG-13, 107 minutes

“Dutch,” written by John Hughes, centers around Doyle Standish (Embry), a sarcastic, bitter young sort going to prep school who thinks his family money makes him better than everybody. His parents, played by cinema’s favorite slime ball portrayer Christopher McDonald and Williams, are fresh out of divorce, which contributes a great deal to Doyle’s disposition. Doyle’s mother’s new beau is one Dutch Dooley (O’Neill), a construction worker who decides to take on the young kid by driving him thousands of miles home for the holidays.

The characters of Doyle & Dutch are a bit overblown at the beginning, with Doyle being all-too-trite in picking on his fellow schoolmates and basically everyone else, and Dutch being overly fun-loving and wacky once he and the boy are in the car. Thankfully things get more real and less Disney as the two get to know each other, once removed from their silly fight scene meeting, and Dutch’s lighting off of fireworks.

The surroundings, that being the plot of a hard-nosed character being brought around just by getting to know The Good Guy, are about as paint-by-numbers as you’d imagine. Just getting home is a wacky adventure, but the comedy between the two characters is fresh enough to make you want to watch. Neither goes one way or the other in their emotions ‘til the very end, which is also a welcome little change.


It’s easy to slam a movie that’s been done and done again from a creative standpoint, but it’s hard to resist a movie that makes you laugh out loud as much as “Dutch.”

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