An overweight, 40-year-old accountant has a series of life-like daydreams that land him in a psychologist's office questioning what's important in this comedic mid-life crisis.
In his second feature film, Robert Angelo Masciantonio, a Philadelphia-native, directs a decent family flick that I could see appearing on ABC Family or some high-digit cable channel.
Shooting on high-definition digital video in constant daylight, making things appear brighter than they maybe should be, Masciantonio crafts scene after scene that looks like they were lit for a wedding photographer. Everything looks too bright and cheery, and too staged, almost to the point of being fake.
Nothing feels real, which I suppose is the point. The story centers on a man who loses touch with reality by having daydreams in vain attempts to recapture his youth.
Bill Page, standup comic and mascot for the Philadelphia Flyers, plays Richard Harrison. After Harrison and his nuclear family are introduced via cartoon, as in various TV sitcoms, we quickly learn that Harrison is your typical TV dad.
Harrison might also be the kind of married man that James Thurber would have envisioned. His wife Ann isn't as nagging but his teenage son and daughter are just as stereotypically unruly and jaded.
The kids are tuned out and don't want to listen to their father. They become disobedient and would rather fight with each other or do nothing.
Their mother screams, "Can't we pretend to be a normal family," or words to that effect, and later, that's what they do. At an amusement park, they pretend to be a normal family, as they celebrate their father's birthday. At least, they try not to much success. It all feels forced and would hardly count as quality time.
We're led to believe that it's all Harrison's fault. Harrison apparently himself is only pretending to be a father. His interest and appreciation in his family has all but waned, and, in an ode to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Harrison spends his spare time daydreaming himself in self-aggrandizing, juvenile, if not sexist situations.
Harrison fantasizes mostly about bikini-clad women adoring him. Yes, it becomes obvious that this movie was written and produced by men and for men, as when women aren't in maid outfits and French-kissing each other, they're in short skirts shaking their booties with low-enough camera angles for us to see up them.
Supposedly, these fantasies are sparked by Harrison's encountering of an old girlfriend who supposedly still has a thing for him. Masciantonio flashes us back to when Harrison was younger and ponders the life and wife he could have had. This is good, but if this is meant to be a choice Harrison makes between what he could have had and what he has now, Masciantonio doesn't give us enough of the other side.
It got to a point that I didn't believe Harrison would stay with his family. Besides the fact that they are his family, we're not given or shown enough reasons as to why he should stay with them. Page delivers a touching speech at the end and is forced into attrition, but I wasn't all that convinced he loved them.
What I also wasn't convinced by was why Harrison's old girlfriend would still be attracted to him when Page spends the majority of the time making his character as unattractive as possible. When he's not picking his nose-hairs, he's biting his own toe-nails or constantly licking his greasy fingers. Page has more chemistry with Krista Allen (Baywatch: Hawaii and What About Brian) who plays Harrison's psychologist, Dr. Thompson.
What's also unattractive is the fact that the out-takes are funnier than the actual movie was. During the end-credits, the director shows us a series of bloopers and out-takes. I found myself laughing out-loud to these than any of the movie's jokes and gags. The fantasy-daydream sequences, which try desperately to invoke laughter fall flat most times. The only truly amusing fantasy involves bumper cars.
The fallout from which is the most heartfelt moment in the movie. I only wish that the filmmakers had played that up more. To see people suffering from life-like fantasies and daydreams, check out Scrubs on NBC, Eli Stone on ABC, or Ally McBeal formerly on FOX.
Page and Allen's performances are sincere. The music from Darius Lux, including the opening song "Every Single Moment," is good. Ultimately, from this movie, I needed more to make it satisfying.
Three Stars out of Five
Unrated but recommended for ages 13 and up
Running Time: 1 hr. and 15 mins.