As a social problem drama/fantasy, this sentimental tripe doesn't do justice to its powerful subject matter, which involves treatment of the mentally challenged. Locked in a pattern of mutual recrimination, Donald Byers (John Ritter) and his wife, Alice (Jobeth Williams), argue constantly about how best to care for their brain-damaged thirteen year-old, Andy (Kevin Zegers). Andy nearly drowned in a swimming pool as a youngster and his parents can't get past blaming each other for the mishap. As he reaches puberty, Andy starts resenting the ministrations of his over-protective mother, who still bathes him like a child. Into this untenable situation come two unlikely guardian angels, wheeler-dealer Jarvis Moody (Christopher Lloyd) and his much-younger mistress, Pepper Upper (Yasmine Bleeth), whose small plane crashes onto the roof of the Byers' home. Initially, the Byers worry about insurance coverage and how to politely rid themselves of their unexpected guests. Donald, who resents Jarvis' success and mistrusts his interest in Andy, engages Jarvis in various displays of machismo. Meanwhile, Andy experiences an interest in Pepper Upper that Alice's child-rearing manual doesn't cover. Gradually Donald and Alice respond to the easy-going rapport between Jarvis and Pepper Upper. They rediscover their feelings for each other and begin to relax their vigilance over Andy. Jarvis and Pepper Upper enable the embittered Byers to ponder alternatives that would make their domestic dilemma less daunting. But will Alice ever permit Andy to board at a special school, as he'd like to do? This imaginative look at the long-term burden of a childhood tragedy is well-intentioned but self-defeatingly cute. While the parental discord sometimes veers into vituperative patter reminiscent of Edward Albee, overall the film is coated with superficial humor and bathed in pat solutions.
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- Released: 1999
- Rating: R
- Review: As a social problem drama/fantasy, this sentimental tripe doesn't do justice to its powerful subject matter, which involves treatment of the mentally challenged. Locked in a pattern of mutual recrimination, Donald Byers (John Ritter) and his wife, Alice (J… (more)