95 minutes | Rated: PG-13
Opened: Wednesday, November 25, 1998
Directed by Dean Parisot
Starring Drew Barrymore, Luke Wilson, Jake Busey, Catherine O'Hara & Shelley Duvall
SMALL SCREEN SHRINKAGE: 5%|
LETTERBOX: NOT NECESSARY
Might improve slightly on video where one won't feel robbed of driving time, parking money and pricey theater tickets, but it's still an awfully stupid movie.
Murder, attack helicopters steal focus from cute love story in 'Home Fries'
Don't be fooled by the trailers and commercials that make "Home Fries" look like an adorable blue collar romance. Warner Bros. is hiding the fact that the movie's dominant plot is an inept, half tragic-half slapstick murder conspiracy involving, among other things, gratuitous use of an AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter and Jake Busey overplaying a dark comedy Oedipus complex.
The terminally adorable, pregnant Drew Barrymore falling for a doofy National Guardsman (played by real-life beau Luke Wilson) when he takes a job at a fast food restaurant to be near her? All that stuff is practically a sub-plot, which is unfortunate because the romance could have easily carried the movie.
Barrymore is predictably irresistible with her trademark plucky charm and a head full of curls that make her look like Shirley Temple at 20. Her winsome chemistry with Wilson is obvious. The idea of a romance coinciding with the last month of a pregnancy is fresh and modern, and makes Wilson all the more darling from the chick flick perspective (first date: Lamaze).
But "Home Fries" begins to unravel in the very first scene when it's revealed that the baby's father is Wilson's recently-deceased stepfather.
Why was Barrymore having an affair with a plump, balding, 50-year-old, married man? This question is never even addressed, and any 20-something, red-blooded American male will tell you that Drew Barrymore would have had her pick of beaux in the movie's backwater military town.
Then comes the murder conspiracy involving Wilson's psycho bother (Busey), his equally nuts, widowed mom (Catherine O'Hara) and the helicopter.
"Home Fries" seems to be the victim of script doctor malpractice. Some suit at Warner Bros. probably thought a pregnancy romance would be skewed to heavily toward a female audience and ordered up a video game-like subplot. The result is a clever chick flick idea ruined by a misguided injection of testosterone that sends the story and the mood spinning wildly out of control.