And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird!
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this dated comedy about a robot come to life concerns a family dealing with the aftermath of a father's presumed suicide. Despite this serious topic, the movie takes a silly approach to the family's concern for the dad. Full of goofy pratfalls and some mild innuendo, this is a film kids can easily skip, unless they want to laugh at the outdated computer equipment and old-fashioned clothing.
What's the story?
Josh (Joshua John Miller), with the help of his little brother Max (Edan Gross), creates a moving and talking robot named Newman out of a wet vac, a desk lamp, and a colander. While attending a Halloween party thrown by his girlfriend, Max plays with a Ouija-style board, which brings back his father (Alan Thicke), who was believed to have committed suicide. Max's father possesses Newman, cracking jokes and working his way back into the hearts of his children and his wife (Marcia Strassman). Together, they must fight nosy reporters and unethical patent thieves.
Is it any good?
While '80s kids might enjoy the kitsch factor of Alan Thicke from Growing Pains playing a wise-cracking robot, this movie hasn't exactly aged well since its 1991 release. The big hair, the big phones, and big computers scream "early nineties." The robot Newman, Macguyvered out of spare parts from the garage, will surely test the credulity of more sophisticated and skeptical kids.
As a simple and lighthearted family comedy, perhaps this would be enjoyable enough on its own, but its attempts at bringing suicide into the story are poorly handled at best, and at worst, border on offensive to those who are or have experienced this tragedy.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how families cope with suicide. How accurately does the film reflect a mother and two sons living in the aftermath of this tragedy? How do you feel about this topic as part of a comedy?
Contrast the technology of that time with the technology of today. What looks the same and what's different?
Where does this film draw its humor from? What makes the movie feel outdated? What are some characteristics of movies that stand the test of time"