Friday, June 14, 2013

Movie Review: My Father, the Hero

                There comes a time when you come across a movie that, after seeing the trailer or hearing the premise, you think will be utterly stupid.  But then your friends will come along and practically force you to go see it with them.  And once you've seen it, you realize that the movie wasn't as bad as you thought it would be.  In fact, a part of you has to admit that you actually enjoyed it.  The movie I’m reviewing today…. isn't one of those movies.  This movie is among those that are actually worse than you were imagining them to be.  What’s even more amazing is that this movie is actually labeled as a comedy!  Well, is a comedy still a success if you’re laughing, not because you found it funny, but because you’re left wondering why people found it funny?  Unfortunately, I really don’t know the answer to that question.   So, what movie am I talking about?  It’s the 1994 movie released by Touchstone, My Father , The Hero.
When I read the plot synopsis for this movie on the DVD case, I immediately knew it was worth reviewing.  I mean, we've got this teenage girl who’s on vacation with her divorced father, and her idea of impressing her crush is to spread around a story that her dad is really her boyfriend posing as her father?  Okay, I admit it’s been a while since I was a teenager, so perhaps I simply have forgotten how the teenage mind works, but if you’re going to impress a guy, why exactly would you make him believe you were currently in a relationship?  If he was even worth your time and attention, he would most likely respect the fact that you’re ‘unavailable’ and back off, labeling you as off-limits.  If any guy continued to hit on me after I told him I already had a boyfriend, I’d be worried I was possibly dealing with an arrogant misogynist or something very similar.  Not only that, the whole issue of an adult dating someone half their age is a controversial subject at best.   The very fact that this teenage girl would go about telling people that her father is actually her boyfriend without any regard to how it would affect her father made me seriously dislike her from the get-go.  But, seeing as how some people seemed to like it, I decided to try and give it the benefit of a doubt.
                So, we open with Andre, the above-mentioned father, taking a taxi from the airport to the New York apartment owned by his ex-wife, Megan, in order to pick up their teenage daughter, Nicole, for their father/daughter vacation, which they have been planning for a year.  Needless to say, this movie doesn't mess around and we’re immediately shown just what kind of people we’re dealing with in this film.  First off, Andre arrives with a little gift bag carrying what I’m guessing is supposed to be a present for Nicole.  What does the ex-wife, Megan, do with it?  When she goes into the kitchen area, she throws the gift bag out.  Now, I obviously can’t confirm this, but seeing as how we never saw what was in the gift bag, I’m seriously left wondering if Megan purposely threw out the gift bag with Andre’s gift still inside it.  I suppose there is the chance that Nicole got the gift when Megan briefly steps into her room, but Megan was only in there for a few seconds, so I highly doubt it.
                We then do get one normal scene when Andre and Nicole greet each other.  It’s a very believable moment of interaction between a father and daughter.  Unfortunately, the pleasant moment is ruined with the reappearance of Megan, who found one of her jackets in Nicole’s room.  Immediately, Nicole shifts into a complete whinny brat, accusing her mother of invading her privacy and whatnot.  She even straight up insults her mother, calling her the b-word.  Now, if I ever spoke to my mother like that, I would have gotten a well-deserved slap across the face, but all Nicole gets is an order to apologize, which she refuses to do.  One would think this would result in her getting grounded and her trip with her father getting called off.  Guess what? Nicole is still allowed to leave with Andre, leaving her blatant disrespect go completely unpunished.  Great parenting skills in action here, folks.  Golf claps all around.
Out on the street, Andre tries to help load Nicole’s bags into the waiting taxi.  What does this very likable teenage girl say?  What else but ‘give me the bag, Andre.’  So, now she’s ordering her father around without so much as a ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’  Plus, she’s calling her father by his first name, snootily stating that all her friends do the same thing.  What kind of friends does this girl have?  How many people do you know who won’t call their parents ‘Mom and Dad’ or some variant of that.  The only exception I can think of is if it’s a step-parent or something.  But that’s not the case here.  Andre is Nicole’s biological father, so there’s no legitimate excuse for Nicole calling her dad by his first name here.   At that moment, Megan hurries out of the apartment building, telling Nicole that she didn't get a goodbye kiss.  Immediately, Nicole is all smiles and hugs, complying to her mother’s request.  At this point, I was laughing out loud at the sheer insanity of the moment, wondering if anyone else in this particular family were diagnosed as bipolar off-screen.
                At the airport, Andre attempts to get a jumpstart on family bonding by buying drinks from an airport bar for him and Nicole.  However, instead of showing any form of gratitude, Nicole turns her nose up at the Shirley Temple Andre got her, stating she’s almost 15 and doesn't drink them anymore.  Okay, Nicole, you’re nearly 15.  So what?  I’m pretty sure you’re still on American soil at this point, where the drinking age is a bit higher than that.  There are only a limited number of non-alcoholic mixed drinks out there, so deal with it.  Anyway, Andre takes this all in stride and gets her a different drink.  His efforts are rewarded by Nicole getting a real snotty ‘I just swallowed a lemon’ look on her face and, in an incredibly rude tone, she asks Andre if he invited the woman working at the airport bar to come on their trip, too.  She then proceeds to run off, stating she doesn't want to go anymore.  
Okay, seriously!  What is this girl’s problem?, I could sort of comprehend the reasons for her malfunctions up to this point, even though I think they all called for a serious scolding or something along that line, but this one came completely out of nowhere!  It wasn't as if Andre was blatantly flirting with that woman.  He was just getting drinks for him and his daughter.   What does Nicole want?  For her father to never speak to anyone lacking a Y-chromosome?  More importantly, why does Andre want to spend time with her, anyway?  I know she’s his daughter and all, but so far, she’s being a really ungrateful stuck-up little brat.  Is Nicole supposed to be a teenage reincarnation of Verruca Salt?
                Anyway, we now flash-forward to Andre and Nicole arriving at a resort in the Bahamas.   While her father checks in at the front desk, Nicole catches sight of a young lifeguard-looking boy, and is obviously smitten.  However, that’s not enough to keep her from complaining to Andre about how there’ll be nothing for her to do on the island, even though she can clearly go swimming and lounge around on the beach.  That’s something teenagers like to do, right?  Lie around in the sun, hoping to get a tan?  But I haven’t even got to what she does when they reach their room.  Nicole, seeing there’s only one bedroom, insists that she’s a grown woman and can’t be expected to sleep in the same room with a stranger.  Andre points out that he’s her father, not a strange man.  “You just don’t get it, Andre,” Nicole retorts.  No, Nicole, of course he doesn't get it!  I don’t even get it!  What, are you looking to punish your father because he lives overseas and are angry because he never spends time with you?  Guess what?  That’s what the whole point of this vacation is!  For you and your father to get to know each other again!  And you know what else?  15-years-old is not grown up.  And even if it was, you’re certainly not acting like a grown woman at all.  No, you are acting like a three-year old throwing a tantrum.  Also, you’ll never guess how this scene ends.  Nicole actually forces her father to sleep on the couch.  Andre, I know you want your daughter to have a good time on her trip, but you are still the parent, and she’s the child.  There comes a time when you have to put your foot down.
                The next morning, Andre actually does step up to the plate somewhat when he sees Nicole chatting away to a cabana boy by the pool, which activates his ‘keep away from my daughter’ instincts, something that pretty much every decent father on the face of the earth experiences at some point.  His innate protective father gene goes into overdrive when he sees that Nicole’s bathing suit leaves a good portion of her derriere on display.  Of course, Nicole dismisses Andre’s legitimate concerns by saying he should stop overdoing the fathering because it’s ‘not impressing her.’  Oh, I get it.  Every time my father put his foot down and issued discipline on my brother and me, he was just trying to impress us.  Thanks for clearing that up for me, Nicole.
                Sometime later, Nicole’s down at the beach and runs into the boy who caught her eye in the hotel lobby.  He informs her that it wasn't a smart move for someone her age to come to that section of the beach, particularly with high tide coming soon.  Nicole tells the boy that she’s really 18, and, when asked if she’s here with her parents, she states that she’s really here with a friend.  What follows is a bunch of filler scenes with Nicole and Andre interacting with the other tourists.  When night falls, the pair go to a party were she runs into the boy again.  It’s here were we get the big lie scene, when she tells the boy, whose name is Ben, that Andre’s really her boyfriend, but he has to pretend to be her father because she’s really 16 and the laws prohibit relationships with a minor.  Like I said before, I see absolutely no logic to why she would tell anyone that story.  Last I checked, a lot of young adults go on trips with their parents.  Sure, the teenager might get embarrassed by their parents from time to time and pretend they’re not related, but you don’t see any of those teens telling people they’re romantically involved with their parent.  But at this point, it’s rather clear that Nicole only thinks about herself, so I’m no longer surprised by her behavior, and how she’s not the least bit worried about the possibility that the lie has reached the ears of the other locals.  Which, of course, it has.  Oh, and Nicole doesn't stop there.  When she runs into Ben again during a walk along the beach, she tells him that she was a runaway who stole in order to support her addiction to heroin until she met Andre, who saved her from a life on the street.  At this point, I was once again wondering what was going on in this girl’s head.  First, she’s telling this guy that she’s dating Andre, now she’s telling him that she was a drug addict.  Maybe I should try using that a pickup line sometime, because it apparently works, as evidenced by the fact that Ben now is convinced Andre’s taking advantage of her and decides to do what he can to ‘rescue’ Nicole.
My Father the Hero
                In the morning, it becomes clear that everyone on the island has heard Nicole’s lies and now, believing Andre is some kind of pedophile, are treating him like a leper.  Not only that, but when Ben volunteers to man the speedboat when Andre rents skis to go waterskiing, he purposely drives the boat in such a way that Andre is placed into danger again and again.  At one point during this scene, Andre is almost run over by a passing boat, and only escapes serious injury or death at the last possible second. Oh, yeah.  This is really hilarious.  Nicole’s lie almost got her father killed.  Ha, ha, I’m laughing so hard, my sides are splitting.  Now, one would think that seeing her father’s life being put into jeopardy like this would force Nicole to wise up and actually start telling the truth, but while she does tell Ben off for endangering Andre, she still won’t come clean.  People, this movie is really making my brain hurt.  So much so, that I seriously considered ejecting the DVD from my computer and never speaking of it again.  It was only the knowledge that I had to complete this review that kept me going.
                Okay, so let’s press on.  Once again, when night falls, there’s another party going on, because, well, this is a resort in the Bahamas.  They have to do something to keep the tourists entertained, right?  Nicole is still in a snit from the water-skiing incident, and even gives Ben the cold shoulder.  Andre, noticing his daughter’s mood, finds confidence in Diana, another tourist and probably the only one in the whole stinking movie who is actually kind to Andre.  Diana provides Andre with a little guidance, saying that Nicole probably just wants what any young woman wants: a little bit of romance.  All Andre can do is be there for her when she needs him.  Diana then proceeds to invite Andre to a Tropical Tiki dance on Thursday, a ‘date’ with no pressures or expectations.  After brief consideration, Andre accepts the invite.
                Meanwhile, Nicole has spotted Ben has reentered the party location, this time with another girl who he proceeds to dance with.  As Ben starts dancing with this other girl, he turns to look right at Nicole, as if taunting her.  Oh, Ben, come on.  Are you really going to pull that childish ‘make her jealous’ card?  We've already established that Nicole is the queen of childishness.  And this is once again proven when Nicole, deciding to counter Ben by using the ‘two can play at this game’ card, immediately walks over to Andre to start dancing with him while glaring at Ben over her father’s shoulder.  Until Ben starts placing small kisses on the other girl’s face, and Nicole storms off in a huff, leaving Andre understandably confused.  Oh, I could go on for hours about this scene.  I realize that these two people are teenagers, and will therefore act like teenagers, but I really cannot stand it when people try to play these kinds of mind games by trying to make each other jealous.  It’s particularly annoying here, because Ben is all ‘I can’t believe Nicole blew me off!  I’m going to start dancing and kissing some other girl.  Then, she’ll be sorry.’  At no point does he seem to acknowledge that Nicole blew him off for a reason. She was still mad at him for recklessly endangering Andre.  For those of you who don’t see how utterly ridiculous Ben is acting in this scene, imagine this scenario: Boy forgets Girl’s birthday, Girl gets angry at Boy and punishes him with the silent treatment, Boy gets affronted and goes to the prom with someone else.   Who would act like that?  No one!  Because it’s bloody stupid!
                And on that note, it’s time for the next scene.  It’s apparently the following night, as Nicole and Andre are wearing different clothing, and are being told by some of the other tourists that it’s talent night.  As they sit at their table, Andre confides in Nicole his issues with Isobel, who he hasn’t been able to reach because of her being ‘out of town.’  Oh, who’s Isobel, you might ask?  Well, apparently, she’s Andre’s lady friend, whom Andre had been trying to call frequently throughout this movie.  Only, she’s not out of town like Andre suspects.  We've clearly seen from previous scenes that Isobel was indeed home when Andre was calling.  However, she simply ignored his calls every single time.  Nicole, however, seems to know something is up, and she tells Andre that Isobel is playing him because she wants to marry him.  Andre pretty much shakes his head and insists that Isobel  is a nice woman and wouldn't act like that.  Um, sorry Andre, but as much as I hate to admit it, I’m in agreement with your bratty daughter in this case.  However, you’re probably right when you claim that Nicole and Isobel would get along.  After all, they’re both women who’ll act like a rotten little snot to get their way.
                Unfortunately, Nicole then proceeds to loose me again.  When she asks Andre if he loves Isobel, he says he thinks he does.  Well, according to Nicole, this means he will definitely marry Isobel and have other kids.  With that said, Nicole claims to have a headache and leaves, refusing to stay for the show. After leaving  the talent show, Nicole runs off to find Ben in order to tearfully tell him “I hate [Andre].  He’s a horrible man.”  
Nicole?  What. On. EARTH. Is. Your. Problem?  First, you’re going around acting like you don’t want to be there with your father, and now you’re acting all wounded because he might enter into another relationship that might produce a new kid or two?  To be fair, Nicole’s claim that being in love automatically leads to marriage does seem to be on par with a teenager’s mindset.   From what I remember of those years, young people think love is all you need to make a marriage happen.  What does a teenager know of conflicting values, priorities and beliefs?  Most teenagers might not realize that marriage is a serious commitment and that it requires a lot of work on both sides.  However, Nicole is obviously old enough to know that a parent doesn't stop loving their children when new ones come along.  Isn't that something a toddler would think?  Then again, perhaps I've just forgotten that Nicole is extremely self-centered and spoiled.
                Anyway, the talent show commences, and the various tourists all go up and perform their acts, from dancing to acting out movie scenes to telling jokes.  Finally, at Diana’s urging, Andre goes up to play a song on the piano.  Upon reaching the stage, one of the tourists in attendance requests that Andre play something French.   Okay, something French, huh?  Let’s see, what song could Andre chose to sing?  Perhaps  La vie en rose, a song that’s widely recognized?   Maybe Je l'aime à mourir, the classic Francis Cabrel song?  He could even sing Alouette, a French Canadian children’s song which, despite the rather disturbing meaning behind it, is probably something everyone who went to a public school had to learn at some point.  Nope.  The song Andre chooses to sing is Thank Heaven for Little Girls, a song that came from the American musical comedy, Gigi.  Okay, first of all, even though Gigi took place in Paris and was based off a novel written by French author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, the song itself has no direct ties to France.  In fact, the people who wrote the song  for the movie Gigi were Frederick Loewe, an Austrian-American composer, and Alan Jay Lerner, and American lyricist and librettist.  Neither of those men were French.  Which means the song Thank Heaven for Little Girls is as French as French fries!
                Oh, yeah, and all that aside, remember how everyone thinks that Andre is a pedophile thanks to Nicole’s lies?  Yeah, well Andre’s choice of song has officially cemented that assumption into everyone’s minds, and all the tourists storm out of the talent show hall, except for Diana, who is now just as confused as Andre over what everyone’s problem is.  So, after that little disaster, Andre returns to his resort room to find Nicole is missing.  When he starts searching for her, he sees the resort’s band standing around and, suspecting Nicole is somewhere with the cabana boy he’d seen her flirting with earlier in the movie, particularly after he’s told that the boy in question is ‘with some chick.’ Instructs one of the band members to take him to the cabana boy’s house Well, obviously, the ‘chick’ in question is not Nicole.  Once again, Andre asks then where Nicole is, and they tell him that she’s probably with Ben.
                We then shift back to Ben’s house, where Ben, obviously still believing that Andre is Nicole’s boyfriend, is telling her to leave him.  He even offers to hide Nicole on his father’s boat.  At that moment, Andre arrives to look for Nicole.  Ben immediately goes over and, after refusing to let Andre in, punches him in the nose.   Seconds later, Nicole appears and stops the fight before running off, with Andre hurrying after her.  When he catches up to her, Nicole starts whining and moaning about how Andre doesn't love her anymore and that he’ll run off to marry Isobel and forget all about her.  She then proceeds to tell Andre about the time when he missed her 13th birthday because he was sick.  According to Nicole, she went over to his hotel with some soup, but instead saw a perfectly healthy Andre getting off the elevator with Isobel.  Thus, Nicole realized that Andre had lied about being sick and chose to spend time with Isobel instead of coming to his daughter’s birthday.  And after hearing that story, I think this is the only time in this whole movie when I actually felt bad for Nicole.  As for Andre, he apologizes to Nicole for that day, and tells her that he could never forget her and that he loves her more than anything in the world.
                A short time later, Nicole finally does something right and tells Andre about the lie she’d spread, about how Andre was actually her lover instead of her father.  To his credit, Andre’s reaction is strikingly realistic, and he flips out on her.  He instructs Nicole to tell Ben the truth, but Nicole insists she can’t do that because she’s in love with Ben, and that he’ll hate her if he finds out she was lying.  Well, I’m sorry Nicole, but you do kind of deserve to have him hate you, especially after all the crap you've pulled so far.  Besides, Nicole’s only known this guy for a few days, and those few days have been spent with him swallowing her lies, being downright nasty to Andre and trying to make her jealous by getting all lovey-dovey with some other girl.   How can Nicole even think she’s in love with this guy?  Ugh, maybe I just have to keep reminding myself that she’s nearly 15 and as a general rule, people that age typically aren't emotionally developed enough to properly distinguish between a teenage crush and genuine romantic love.
                Believe it or not, this is when the movie REALLY starts getting stupid.  I know, I can’t believe it either, but things actually get dumber than they've been so far.  When morning comes, Nicole wakes Andre up, informing him that Ben is on his way over and that she wants Andre to continue acting like he’s Nicole’s boyfriend.  That’s right, Nicole has not only neglected to tell Ben the truth, she wants her father to knowingly play along with her lie.  Now, one would think that Andre would man up and refuse to tolerate this.  After all, he’s the parent and she’s the child, so its Andre’s responsibility to ensure his daughter learns to take responsibility for her transgressions and whatnot.  But no.  Andre actually indulges his daughter by not setting Ben straight.  You know what? I don’t care if this is just a movie.  I expect the movies I see to have characters that are actually believable.  There is absolutely no way that I would believe that a parent would willingly pander to their kid’s immaturity by feeding their lies, particularly when it’s this big of a lie.  Any real parent would yank Nicole into the room and insist that she start being honest with Ben.  But maybe Andre is living under the delusion that maybe Nicole will finally come clean once he leaves the two alone together.  Guess what?  Nicole doesn't fess up.  Instead, she feeds Ben ANOTHER lie, telling him that Andre’s dying from a rare African disease and that she needs to stay with him for his final days.  And once again, Andre neglects to act like the responsible parent and allows Nicole to call the shots by pretending to be bedridden from his illness.  
However, that night, after Andre attempts to contact Isobel, who once again deliberately ignores his phone call, he has a heart-to-heart with Diana, filling her in on what Nicole has been saying about him.  A sympathetic Diana consoles Andre’s feelings of failure by assuring him that he’s a great father to Nicole.  I’m sorry, Diana, but no he’s not!  I can’t let this go.  A good father would remember that his job is to ensure his children grow up right by teaching them dishonesty is not generally acceptable.  They don’t cater to the child when they’re off spreading lies, particularly lies of this magnitude.  Well, at least some good comes of this heart-to-heart with Diana.  Andre vows that since Nicole won’t take responsibility for her mistakes, he will personally make sure the boy knows the truth.  Finally, we’re going to see Andre acting like the competent parental figure he….he’s not going to go through with it is he?
                NO!  NO HE DOESN'T!  The very next scene has Andre regaling Ben about some kind of war wound he got while serving in the military in some Russian war.  Please tell me this movie is almost over!  Please!
                Anyway, Nicole, being the little snot that she is, starts yelling at Andre for taking Ben’s attention away from her.  Once again, Andre instructs Nicole to tell Ben the truth, but Nicole once again says that it’s too late, and that Ben will hate her if she comes clean now.  Andre tries to reassure her, stating that he wouldn't hate her.  Why not, Andre?  Are you saying that no one could possibly hate Nicole?  Because I've hated her from the very start.  Once again, Nicole asks that Andre help her along with her lies by acting like a fool in front of Ben so he will no longer feel intimidated around Andre and start paying attention to Nicole again.  Andre consents by being rubbish at playing tennis, golf and windsailing.  However, Nicole’s plan fails when she and Ben later see Andre playing the piano, prompting Nicole to remember how Andre used to play for her before she went to sleep at night.  This leads to Ben, seeing in her face how much she cares for Andre, leaving Nicole a note saying that it might be best for them to never see each other again.  Nicole is devastated, but I’m not sure what she expected would happen.  
The next morning, Andre is out on the porch when one of the lifeguards runs over to him, informing him that Nicole is in danger.  Apparently, she went out windsailing, ignoring the lifeguard’s warnings of strong currents, and is now unable to return to shore.  When Nicole falls into the water, Andre immediately dives into the water to swim out to save her, but gets a cramp before he can reach her.  Thus, it is Ben in his speedboat that makes it to Nicole first.  Upon realizing that Andre is also in trouble they then steer the boat over to him as well.  In a panic, Nicole calls out to him, calling him ‘daddy.’  Ben, hearing her call Andre that, instantly figures out the truth.  Thus, when he sees Nicole again at a market, he brushes off her attempts to apologize, telling her to just stay away from him.  Trying to get back into Ben’s good graces, Nicole then proceeds to try and write him a letter with Andre’s assistance.  At night, the pair sneaks over to Ben’s house and, after breaking his window to get his attention, Nicole pleads Ben to meet her at the dance.  With Andre acting as her Cyrano de Bergerac, Nicole spouts off this whole romantic spiel about how much she loves him.
                At the dance, Andre essentially snubs all the tourists who treated him like a pariah. (Speaking of which, do they know the truth now?  It’s never stated.)  As for Nicole, she starts to think Ben won’t show up, but then when she starts to give up, Ben finally makes his appearance.  The two go off to take a walk on the beach where they share a kiss.  After witnessing this, Andre makes his final attempt to call Isobel, who once again continues to ignore his phone call.  Until Andre mentions that he’d like to marry Isobel, prompting the woman to fly off the chair and pick up the phone.  The two continue to discuss their upcoming marriage, with Andre stating he wants to have a daughter with her.  Which means Andre is willing to potentially go through this whole crap-fest again.
                Someone PLEASE tell me where this movie came from?  I know I said it before, but it’s worth repeating.   How do people find this movie funny?!  It’s really terrifying!  It astounds me how mean-spirited this movie could get at times.  There was not a single thing in this movie that was remotely funny.   I actually felt really uncomfortable at times.  The really scary part is that there are no real repercussions for Nicole’s self-centered lies.  Throughout the whole movie, she acted like a spoiled brat who never gave a thought to how her actions were affecting others, particularly her father, and yet, she still gets exactly what she wants.  I suppose we were supposed to be rooting for her, hoping that everything would work out for her in the end, but I never felt like that. Not once.  I didn't want to see her wind up with Ben, or make up with her dad.  I don’t think she deserved to get her way.  Just think about it for a moment.  Not only did her lies make practically everyone on the island think Andre was a pedophile and therefore treat him like something disgusting on the bottom of their shoes, it could have destroyed Andre’s entire life.  Any one of those people who heard and believed Nicole’s lies could have gotten Andre arrested and left with a permanent criminal record, which would have followed Andre around for the rest of his life.   His professional reputation would have been in tatters, making it almost impossible for him to find a job anywhere.  Even if that never happened, it still doesn't change the fact that her lies came very close to getting Andre killed.  And if that wasn't enough, Nicole never tells Ben the truth willingly.  The only reason her lies came out was because Nicole had a slip of the tongue.  So obviously, Nicole never intended to tell Ben the truth.   This movie could have been salvageable if they had Nicole finally show a lick of maturity and publicly admit the truth to everyone.  That ending would have at least showed that Nicole had learned something from all of this.  As it stands, however, I seriously doubt Nicole learned anything good.  On the other hand, perhaps she does deserve Ben after all.  After all, we've all seen how Ben will knowingly endanger someone’s life and, like Nicole, is not above utilizing petty and childish mind-games to get his way, as we saw when he started dancing and kissing that other girl to try and make Nicole feel jealous.  As was said in Big Girls Don’t Cry, They Get Even, a rather entertaining family film from 1992: Brats of a Feather.
                If anything, I just feel bad for Andre, but even that has its limits, particularly since it’s pretty clear that he allows people to treat him like a bloody doormat.  When he finds out about Nicole’s lie, he doesn't lay down the law and make sure she takes responsibility for her actions, he actually plays along with her.  That aside, he is seriously planning to marry Isobel at the end, even though we've clearly seen that Isobel is a manipulative hag of a woman who only gives Andre her attention when he lets her get her way.  Even the ex-wife, Megan, who we briefly saw at the beginning of the film.  I’m still convinced she knowingly threw away the gift bag with Andre’s gift still inside it.  You've got to wonder about Andre in this case.  He seems inexplicably drawn to horrible unlikable women who will take advantage of him without any remorse.  You know what this reminds me of?  It reminds me of one of the well-known symptoms of abuse victims, in the sense that some of them actually start to feel affection for their abusers.  I seriously think that’s the case with Andre.  He’s gotten so used to the women in his life constantly manipulating him, he’ll give them everything they want and no longer even attempts to stick up for himself.  Even in the last line of the movie, he’s telling Isobel to make sure the kid they’ll have together is a girl, which, to me, indicates that he wants the cycle to continue and will allow this new potential daughter treat him as horribly as Nicole and Isobel have.  The only good thing I can say about this is the fact that I made it through this film with at least some of my sanity intact, and that after today, I never have to sit through it ever again.  And thank Heaven for that.


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