SON IN LAW (1993)


Directed By: Steve Rash
Written By: Fax Bahr, Adam Small & Shawn Schepps
Story By: Patrick Clifton, Susan McMartin & Peter Lenkov
Cinematography By: Peter Deming
Editor: Dennis M. Hill 

Cast: Pauly Shore, Carla Gugino, Lane Smith, Mason Adams, Tiffani Amber-Theissen, Patrick Renna, Cindy Pickett, Dennis Burkley

Country girl Rebecca begins college in Los Angeles. There she meets Crawl, a student who is crazy, unpredictable and wild. During the holidays she brings him with her home. Her parents have never seen anything like him and are shocked when Rebecca tells them that they are engaged to be married. Two different worlds collide…

It’s tough to describe the appeal of Pauly shore in movies, was he more forced on us by MTV as he was on daily and audiences got used to him. For what some would call charming other, tolerable. So once he became recognizable and was made to be a representation of youth. Someone had an idea to cast him In a film that was a mild hot and decided to keep giving him films to star in that we’re made for little money and at least made their money back.

Films such as these had decent production valuables. Recognizable enough character actors in supporting roles and simple plots. That seem to revolve around his comic antics of being a stupid, silly yet lovable stoner. Surfer, modern hippie. (I use stoner in the loosest sense as he has the demeanor, yet never seems to smoke or even really heavily implied) Who seemed to have his own slang and took nothing too seriously. Making him the ultimate outsider who is disliked at first but the longer most are around him they are helped by him and learn to accept him as they begin to understand him and tap into his wavelength. An added bonus was usually cameos by previous co-stars such as Brendan Fraser or random rock stars like Flea of the red hot chili peppers

Brendan Fraser has a cameo as Link, his character from Encino Man, which also starred Pauly Shore. Crawl sees Link at a party dressed as he appeared in the last scene of the movie, and says “cool costume”. Link eats a plastic frog and walks away as Crawl mouths the words “was that…?”, implying that Link and Crawl had met before.

Now that I have pretty much describes the formula of most of his films including this one. Let me get on with the review.

I will admit to seeing most of Pauly Shore’s resume though not in theaters except for ENCINO MAN and really the main reason I wanted to see this film is actress Carla Gugino. Who throughout this film constantly looks like a deer caught in the headlights. She seems to have save me eyes on for the duration of this film. Though really I give her the utmost respect for being a child star and still being strong in the game as an actress. An added surprise was seeing SAVED BY YHE BELL’s Tiffani Amber-Theissen. Playing more of a bad Girl temptress. Other then the good girl image she portrayed on her popular teen sitcom. I guess this was her way of trying to stretch away from her old image. It worked slowly. She didn’t go the way of her co-star Elizabeth Berkley who choose the more direct and epic route starring in strip, drugs, violence and general excess of SHOWGIRLS. Which didn’t exactly work in her favor.

Ashley Judd auditioned for the role of Rebecca.

Now the film isn’t horrible it has a story. It’s just through most of the film we watch as the family tries to get rid of him through supposed tough challenges. That he manages to pass and then begins to win them over. It’s predictable and simple. You just wait for the other shoe to drop most of the time. It is mildly entertaining that might cause a chuckle.

While the humor isn’t gross out. It is surprisingly rarely low-brow as the film seems to go more for traditional silly humor. That makes it perfect for family entertainment. That would more appeal to young teens more then anyone else. Which is a bit disappointng as the vibe it seems to try and offer is a party film. Though this film rarely offers any excess. No nudity, sex though there are minor references and a little drinking.

Even compared to modern teen films this film is rather simple as far as intelligence and slight as far as material. Early in the film, Crawl sings about the Hungry Man TV dinner he is about to eat. Mason Adams, who plays the grandfather, was a voice over announcer at the time the film was released.

The film is strange as usually Pauly shore is a horny ladies man and his appeal isn’t as a lead but suited more as a wacky side best friend character. Only here as a juvenile comedy it is more subverted for him to be lead and a kind of freak to the family but Bri ya them all together with his simpleness. Especially as he is trusted to be alone with his friends mom to give her a makeover and surprisingly the film is sexless and there is no real romance between him and Carla Gugino’s character. Even his supposed seduction seems false.

The closest the film comes to sex is having Tiffani Amber Theissen who was a of rated sex symbol in tv’s SAVED BY THE BELL have a Pg- 13 rated striptease. Where barely anything is shown or racy

Watching this movie now is the equivalent of looking at a snap shot of the oast and seeing the bad outfits and fads of yesterday that you remember being really into. So that it works as a time machine or nostalgic as you remember the times.

Even though at the time it wasn’t cool or necessarily a hit. It was good enough or at least seen as normal or average.

I would say you get what you expect with this film, but you actually get less then expected. To tell the truth, your enjoyment of the film also will be based on not only how much you can stand Pauly shore. And if you can stand him how funny or at least amusing you find him.

As disposable entertainment I liked the film for what it was. It is easily forgettable after. Especially as you might find yourself not thinking at all during the film. Which makes me believe that Pauly shore films are subversive stoner films. Even though they have no weed in them. Then again that might explain shore’s fan base back then. And his popularity.

Grade: C-

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