The movie equivalent of broken-backed slippers and a comfy old robe, this made-for-TV weepie offers a sort of dramatic comfort zone. Before she starts college, Alison Dodge (Kristen Bell) boards a bus from her San Diego home to the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona. Over the summer, Alison plans to reconnect
with her estranged father, Al Dodge (Tim Matheson), whom she hasn’t seen since childhood. In Arizona, Alison manages to tolerate her second-rate living quarters in the one-horse town but cannot understand her dad's reluctance to forge a relationship. A solitary soul, Al earns his livelihood as a handyman, who drinks himself to sleep and refuses to commit to his casual girlfriend, Sandy Bateman (Sean Young). When Alison takes it upon herself to reorganize her father's untidy home, he calls her visit a mistake. Then, on the day of her departure, Al stops grousing and changes his mind. Although he accepts some fatherly duties, like teaching Alison how to swim, he hesitates to offer dating advice he doesn't feel he has the right. When Alison isn’t playing matchmaker for Al and Sandy, she flirts with decent, college-bound teen Tim Spooner (Bug Hall). Uncomfortable that Alison is becoming a woman and aware that he can't retrieve his lost years of parenting, Al goes on a drinking binge. Unless Al admits that his behavior stems from his fear of disappointing his daughter, the father-daughter bond will never adhere. Michael De Guzman's adaptation of his own novel provides the director Sam Pillsbury with a solid blueprint for exploring family dysfunction. Although Ed Asner is irritating in the supporting role of a philosophical ex-professor who becomes Alison's grandiloquent mentor, the other actors shine in their less contrived roles.
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- Released: 2003
- Rating: NR
- Review: The movie equivalent of broken-backed slippers and a comfy old robe, this made-for-TV weepie offers a sort of dramatic comfort zone. Before she starts college, Alison Dodge (Kristen Bell) boards a bus from her San Diego home to the outskirts of Phoenix, Ar… (more)