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My Father the Hero (PG)
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Caution: spoilers.

This 1994 film is an American remake of a French film from 1991, which I haven't seen. I must have seen this movie sometime in the 90s, either on TV or VHS. There's not much I remembered about it, other than the basic premise of a teenage girl (Katherine Heigl) going on vacation with her father (Gérard Depardieu), and the girl spreading the story that he wasn't her father, but actually her lover. And I remembered at one point the father playing on the piano and singing the song "Thank Heaven for Little Girls," which utterly disgusted everyone else staying at the resort, who were aware of the rumor about him, even though he himself wasn't. I also remember the girl being sort of disturbingly hot, and in particular one scene where she was wearing a certain bathing suit that her father felt the need to cover up, because it was too revealing (from behind). And I remember finding the movie utterly cringe-worthy and embarrassing and generally terrible. Of course, this was well before I ever started reviewing movies... and at some point after I did start doing so, I dunno... maybe I felt it was a good thing I had never reviewed this. But eventually I kind of wanted to see it again, anyway. And I assumed I would either not bother reviewing it if I did see it again, or else put a very brief mention of it in my "meh" section. Well, in 2017 I got the movie on a DVD that was part of a set of three movies. Maybe I felt like I could use that as an excuse, like, "Oh, I was just trying to save money on these other two movies I actually wanted to see, I wasn't really getting the set for this one," or whatever. In fact I did want to see the other movies, but... whatever. Yeah. I did want to see this. And now that I've watched it again, I'm embarrassed to say I didn't hate it. It's still extraordinarily redonkulous and in rather poor taste... but I found it funnier than I remembered. (Maybe that's partly because I was drinking while watching it, because I figured I'd have to drink to get through it. I dunno.)

Anyway... Depardieu plays this Frenchman named André Arnel, who is divorced from a woman named Megan (Lauren Hutton), with whom he has a 14-year-old daughter named Nicole (Heigl). André has seen very little of Nicole for the past five years, so he still basically thinks of her as a little girl, and doesn't really know anything about the person she is now. And the person she is now is pretty bratty. When he comes to New York to pick her up and take her on a vacation to the Bahamas, she has a fight with her mother, though they soon make up. So I guess it's obvious that beneath her brattiness, she does have a good heart. However, she continues to act like a brat toward her father, and even when it's apparent that she really likes the resort where they're staying, she won't admit it. She prefers to seem aloof and disinterested in everything, no matter how hard he tries to connect with her.

Well, she soon develops a crush on a local 17-year-old boy named Ben. The first time they talk, she tells him she's 18. He doesn't really seem to believe that, but doesn't explicitly call her on it. (She'll later tell him she's 16, which is a more believable lie.) She also tells him that André is her lover, but that they have to pretend he's her father, for legal reasons. And she makes up an increasingly tragic backstory for herself (and for André). Of course the story of them being lovers soon spreads to all the guests of the resort... except maybe a woman named Diana, whom Nicole had befriended and introduced to her father in order to keep him distracted. Diana is obviously romantically interested in André, though while he comes to think of her as a friend (his only one at the resort), he has no romantic interest, because he has a girlfriend in Paris named Isobel. (He calls Isobel several times throughout the movie, but she never answers the phone. We see her screening the calls, though we don't see her face until the end of the movie, when she finally answers one of his calls. She's played by Emma Thompson.)

Anyway... Nicole eventually admits her lies to her father, who is understandably quite upset. And yet, in what might be the most unrealistic plot point in all of cinematic history, she convinces him to go along with the lies. Because she's afraid Ben will hate her if he finds out she's a liar. And in a bizarre twist, when Ben (who initially thinks André is a dirty old man who's taking advantage of Nicole) gets to know André (or a fictionalized version of him, when he starts telling his own lies to complement his daughter's), he actually comes to like and respect André... which ends up making Nicole jealous.

Well, more stuff happens, and I feel like I've said way too much already. But the movie has a happy ending all around (for Nicole and Ben, for André and Isobel, for Diana and some Italian guy, but most importantly for André and Nicole). It's all utterly, utterly preposterous, of course. I suppose there's a certain sweetness about a father who's willing to do anything for his daughter (and the daughter ultimately realizing how much she loves her father, despite his previous absenteeism), though that sweetness is certainly far outweighed by the disturbingness of it all. So, so disturbing. And yet, I couldn't manage to hate it, this time. I mean, maybe I could if I were sober, but there's not much chance of my ever watching it without drinking....

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