Son in Law
Dated '90s Pauly Shore comedy; frequent sexual references.
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Son in Law
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Son in Law is a 1993 movie in which Pauly Shore plays a California dude trying to fit in with a rural South Dakota farm family in order to woo his love interest. There are frequent euphemisms for sex, genitalia, and masturbation. During a bachelor party, two characters have their beers spiked with pills, which causes them to blackout and wake up semi-clothed and lying close to each other. There is brief male nudity (buttocks). A college freshman girl is objectified by the lead character as "USDA prime teriyaki." During a Halloween party in a college dorm building, a white character wears facepaint underneath warpaint to look like a Native American. There is underage drinking in the college dorm building. Profanity includes "a--hole," "son of a bitch," "s--t," "d--k," "damn," and "hell."
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What's the Story?
In SON IN LAW, after graduating at the top of her class in her South Dakota high school, Becca (Carla Gugino) decides to attend a university in Southern California, much to the dismay of her possessive boyfriend, Travis. As she finds it difficult to adjust to college and the culture of her new surroundings, Becca nearly goes home, but has her mind changed by the Resident Advisor of her dorm building, a seemingly spaced-out guy named Crash (Pauly Shore). He takes her to Venice Beach, helps her to lose her Midwestern fashion sense for more flashy clothing, a new hairstyle, and a tattoo on her ankle. When it's time for Thanksgiving break, Becca learns that Crash has nowhere to go, so she brings Crash with her back to South Dakota. Upon arriving, her family is strongly put off by Crash's bizarre West Coast mannerisms and slang. Their low opinion of him doesn't improve when, during a dinner in a country club, Travis proposes marriage to Becca, but is saved by Crash when he claims to have proposed to Becca two weeks' prior, and are now engaged. Continuing the deception, Crash even goes so far as to say that he wants to be a farmer, and must learn to get up at 5AM and work the land, even as he's laughed at the entire time by Becca's family and the other farmhand. As he does this, he gradually begins to win the family over. However, things come to a head when Travis, under the guise of throwing a "bachelor party" for Crash, spikes the drinks of Crash and Tracy (Tiffani Thiessen), an old friend of Becca's from school, in order to make it look like they slept together in a barn. Now, Crash must prove that he was set up, and that he actually loves Becca and has grown to love life on the farm.
Is It Any Good?
While as firmly dated in the 1990s as a Spin Doctors song, this movie is not without some charm. Pauly Shore basically plays the over-the-top California dude persona that brought him some fleeting success in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and makes full use of a whole slew of catchphrases, euphemisms, and stretching out words and adding strange emphases on syllables. It's easy to understand the appeal of '90s nostalgia, a time when flannel, grunge, and ludicrous movies like these ruled youth culture. Son in Law is as good a yardstick as any to measure both the culture's innocence and ignorance between then and now.
Still, scenes in which white kids darken their skin to resemble Native Americans at a Halloween party are enough to, as Shore might have said, harsh the mellow of anyone trying to get a little too nostalgic for the 1990s.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about comedies in which humor is derived from characters being out of their element. How does the use of "opposites" create both tension and humor? What are some other examples beside Son in Law of movies with similar conflicts?
In what ways does the humor seem dated, either because of the content or because of the slang terms used?
What are some other examples of actors with recognizable personas who often play variations of these personas in their movies?
- In theaters: July 2, 1993
- On DVD or streaming: September 7, 1999
- Cast: Pauly Shore, Tiffani Thiessen, Carla Gugino
- Director: Steve Rash
- Studio: Hollywood Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Horses and Farm Animals
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- Last updated: December 2, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
Lowbrow '90s comedy has raunchy humor, profanity.
'90s comedy offers witty, sarcastic take on redemption.
Silly teen comedy has some Neanderthal behavior.
For kids who love the '90s
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