New Line's home video embarrassment THE DAY MY PARENTS RAN AWAY manages to give away the whole movie in the title alone. A high-concept quickie, it's perfectly positioned to be the poor man's NORTH--if NORTH weren't already the poor man's NORTH.
Bob and Judy Miller (Matt Frewer and Blair Brown) are fed up with their demanding 16-year-old son Matt (Bobby Jacoby), who manages to keep them at his beck and call. Their family therapist Dr. Lillianfarb (Ben Stein) excoriates them for showing so little backbone, only to crumble when persuasive
party dude Matt enters the session. Pushed to the breaking point, Bob and Judy head north on the Ventura Freeway, leaving Matt the house, a well-stocked refrigerator, and an inexhaustible credit card.
As the host of nightly bachelor-pad dance parties, Matt is soon the most popular kid in school, although his smart-cookie girlfriend Melanie (Brigid Conley Walsh) is scandalized by his lack of academic ambition. Then Matt encounters a talent scout (Elena Wohl) for Sam Scott (Kevin Meaney), a
pompous TV talk show host who suggests Rush Limbaugh crossed with Geraldo. Recruited to voice the concerns of his generation on the air, he's bamboozled into standing in for the new breed of "parent abusers," and roundly vilified by the studio audience.
Now a laughingstock to his friends, and disrespected by his girlfriend, Matt sets out to track down his parents, aided by furtive bounty hunter Norman Roberts (Martin Mull). Roberts comes dressed in trench coat and gumshoe fedora, but looks like the victim of some of the brown acid at Woodstock.
He leads Matt to a distant compound up in the redwoods, where Bob and Judy are now part of an underground support group for abused parents, undergoing role-playing therapy and reinforcing their battered self-esteem. Chastened, Matt leads them home together and bids a thoughtful farewell to his
brief flirtation with perpetual revelry.
Getting the HOME ALONE formula exactly wrong, THE DAY MY PARENTS RAN AWAY takes a kids' idea made palatable for adults and tries to market it to teenagers, offending everyone in the process. Walsh deserves better, Mull certainly knows better, and Frewer, television's Max Headroom, is never going
to be believable as a human being (except possibly as Jim Carrey's father). A predictable screenplay brings little new to a weathered conceit, and the addition of an elephant's graveyard of aging sitcom stars, plus bits of twee sociobabble (e.g., "Suburban Parent Flight Syndrome"), does little to
spruce things up.
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: New Line's home video embarrassment THE DAY MY PARENTS RAN AWAY manages to give away the whole movie in the title alone. A high-concept quickie, it's perfectly positioned to be the poor man's NORTH--if NORTH weren't already the poor man's NORTH. Bob and… (more)