Movie Article

WHAT A PERE

A DAD AND DAUGHTER "DATE" IN 'MY FATHER, THE HERO'

Let me see if I can say this with the kind of enlightened, sophisticated appreciation I usually muster for raffish French farces that get remade in America: What the hell is Disney thinking bringing out a PG comedy based-when you come right down to it-on jokey insinuations of incest between a father and his flirtatious, pampered 14-year-old daughter? Perhaps the producers thought the casting of the great French behemoth Gerard Depardieu in the title role would immediately establish the kind of amusant tone to which My Father, the Hero (Touchstone, PG) strenuously aspires: He plays Andre, a loving, divorced French dad with an innocent desire to show his alienated American daughter, Nicole (15-year-old newcomer Katherine Heigl), a good time on a two-week holiday in the Bahamas. Nicole, meanwhile, embarrassed by her old man as only a perpetually mortified teenager can be, convinces a local Cute Guy (Dalton James) that Andre is in fact her lover. I don't know which is more hateful: the half of the movie in which an oblivious Andre cavorts with Nicole in a series of painfully misconstrued scenarios, or the half in which, finally clued in, he aids and abets the insufferable girl in the pursuit of her first romance. (In a gloss on one of his own recent film triumphs, Depardieu plays Cyrano, putting words of love in his daughter's mouth. I swear I've seen Oprah Winfrey say this is an icky thing for a parent to do.) As directed by Steve Miner (Forever Young), Depardieu participates gamely, happily flashing his prodigious bronze gut. He ought, however, to save this sort of thing for real, grown-up French farces. In My Father, the Hero every ostensibly funny moment leaves an aftertaste of creepy discomfort, even in the mouths of enlightened sophisticates. Or it should. F

Originally posted Feb 18, 1994 Published in issue #210-211 Feb 18, 1994 Order article reprints