New Line Home Cinema presents
Father and Scout (1994)
"There is a place in the world for sensitive men."- Spencer Paley (Bob Saget)
Stars: Bob Saget, Brian Bonsall, Heidi Swedberg, Stuart Pankin, David Graf, Troy Evans
Director: Richard Michaels
MPAA Rating: PG for (mild fisticuffs)
Run Time: 01h:31m:49s
Release Date: 2003-07-08
DVD ReviewWhat ever happened to Bob Saget? The lanky, affable actor—best known for his TV sitcom Full House and corny clip-fest America's Funniest Home Videos—hasn't done much since his halcyon days on the airwaves. Father and Scout, an innocuous made-for-television movie, marked his last leading role almost a decade ago. And while no one would ever consider nominating Saget for an acting award, his wholesome, earnest presence anchors this run-of-the-mill family flick.
In keeping with the movie's portrayal of those age-old, often dreaded father-son retreats, Father and Scout is definitely a father-son flick. Both my sons found the film fun and entertaining, but my wife and daughter restlessly shifted and clock-checked throughout. I agree with my boys. Though I certainly recognize the movie's many shortcomings, I found Father and Scout to be a pleasant enough diversion. I must admit I was relieved that Saget was the one up on screen roughing it and embarrassing his son with his ineptitudes rather than me. For while I can easily put two words together, rubbing two sticks together is an entirely different story. Ranger Rick I am not.
So maybe I could identify just a teensy bit with Spencer Paley (Saget), an over-protective, highly neurotic dad who's pressured by his wife (Heidi Swedberg) into taking son Michael (Brian Bonsall) on a school camping trip to promote some good old-fashioned male bonding. A wisecracking Dave Barry type (translation—wussy writer), Spencer gripes and moans about the trip's every aspect—from the three-hour cruise to Catalina Island and midnight hike to the campground to the primitive accommodations and lousy food—amusing most of the fathers but mortifying Michael, who just wants to blend in and enjoy himself. Spencer's cynical attitude also rubs Chet (David Graf), a macho dad, the wrong way and the two clash throughout the weekend while competing in a string of father-son events.
Spencer's constant complaining alienates Michael, but just when the audience thinks the weekend will end up driving the two further apart, a couple of convenient (and predictable) plot twists patch up their relationship and bring them closer than ever before. Thankfully, the film recognizes its male audience and shies away from too mushy an ending, while still managing to put its heartwarming point across.
Saget sinks his teeth into his role, but Spencer is often so overtly obnoxious and insensitive it's tough not to root for him to receive some sort of comeuppance. Although burly Chet is set up as the film's villain, Spencer's disdain for the camp's rules and activities makes it too easy to sympathize with Chet's perspective. Give Father and Scout credit for presenting a balanced portrait of both men's (unlikable) personalities, but in the process the writers (wrongly) portray most dads as immature, petty oafs.
Thankfully, all the psychology goes over the kids' heads. They enjoy the film for its rudimentary elements—the athletic competitions, the camaraderie, the thrills and comic spills, and obvious affection between fathers and sons. And that's just as it should be.
Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B-
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: As a made-for-television movie, Father and Scout comes to DVD in its original fullscreen format. New Line offers up a generally clean transfer, but one that's hampered by grain and fuzziness. Vivid colors, accurate fleshtones and pleasant contrast help balance out the flaws, but the video quality, like the film itself, is average at best.
Image Transfer Grade: C+
Audio Transfer Review: The music score benefits most from the Dolby stereo treatment, with solid presence and good fidelity. Dialogue remains clear and comprehendible throughout, and the track displays some nice directionality at times. On the whole, the audio is a bit better than most TV soundtracks, but far from spectacular.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 22 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Little Vampire, Theodore Rex, Surf Ninjas, Suburban Commando
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
- Pick That Flick Trivia Game
Extras Grade: C-
Final CommentsYoung boys especially will get a kick out of Father and Scout, and dads will enjoy identifying with the common paternal foibles depicted in the film. For some quick, painless bonding—without the camping trip—give Father and Scout a try.
David Krauss 2003-09-25