Fathers’ Day

Billy Crystal and Robin Williams costar in yet another Hollywood remake of a Francis Veber boulevard comedy, this one taken from Les comperes (1984). A mother trying to recover her runaway son recruits two of her ex-lovers in the search (Crystal as a big-time lawyer and Williams as a weepy neurotic) by telling each that he’s the boy’s real father. Ivan Reitman directs Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel’s adaptation like standard-issue sitcom, inviting Williams to pursue his usual overacting shtick and Crystal, who seems much closer to an actual human being, to adhere to his terse one-liners. What Dave Kehr wrote here about Les comperes applies equally to the recycling: The mechanical possibilities are worked out with precision and relish, but [the director] is careful not to allow the comedy to linger too long in the realm of real feelings. A platitudinous ending restores a safe and sane emotional order. With Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Nastassja Kinski. (JR)

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