A Few Good Years
”On Golden Pond” matched up father and daughter Fonda. But the Douglases have corraled three generations into one tale of familial dysfunction: Kirk plays a legal-eagle patriarch estranged from his son (Michael) and grandson (Cameron). They fight, they regret, they bond.
According to Michael, 57, ”Dad and I always bounced around ideas [for working together]. But any script we looked at, we?d find problems.” Then ”9/11 happened” about the same time that Michael?s planned team-up with Billy Crystal, ”The In-Laws,” got put on hold after Crystal signed for ”Analyze That.” Wigutow, who was in line to adapt the Arthur Miller play ”The Ride Down Mount Morgan” for Douglas? production company, sent in a writing-sample script that dripped with juicy generational dynamics, and the timing seemed serendipitous. (The film was first titled ”Smack in the Puss,” then ”Smack in the Kisser,” and at one point ”Family Jewels.”) The shoot went smoothly, despite 85-year-old Kirk?s limited stamina as he continued recovering from a stroke. ”The pleasant surprise has been Cameron,” says Michael. ”He?d never really expressed interest in acting. Music was his thing.” But crew members say the 23-year-old steals more than one scene. ”He?s making it look too easy,” Michael says. ”Dad said to me, ?He?s pissing me off,? and I said, ?I know what you mean.?”
THE LOWDOWN Though it has an appealingly warm-and-fuzzy premise, it doesn?t look likely to dominate the awards season the way ”Pond” did.