July 08, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

Getting Even With Dad

Current Status
In Season
Macaulay Culkin, Ted Danson, Hector Elizondo, Glenne Headly
Howard Deutch
We gave it a D

It probably sounded terrific in the pitch meeting: as an ex-con in San Francisco who can’t resist one more big-time heist, Macaulay Culkin as his winsome 11-year-old son, who blackmails Pop into going straight. Too terrific to be true, it turns out. In attempting to play to their strengths in Getting Even With Dad — a movie not funny enough for a comedy, not touching enough for a heart-warmer, and not energetic enough for a story about a robbery of rare coins — Danson and Culkin end up exposing all their weaknesses. You may want to shield your eyes.

Once again Danson plays a kind of willful, Sam Malone-ish dolt with a look-I-gotta-tellya accent — as if the actor had decided once and for all that he could not trust his long-jawed handsomeness to believably convey intelligence and depth of emotion. And once again Culkin plays a kind of preternaturally red-lipped imp with a practiced look-I’m-so-cute twinkle in his eye — as if director Howard Deutch realized once and for all that, for the time being at least, Culkin has pretty much exhausted his dramatic repertoire and that whatever is left of his childhood charm is lodged in his lipstick. D

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