Parenthood (1989)
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Funny film dads: Steve Martin in ”Parenthood”

PLAYED BY Steve Martin

WHO IS HE? Determined not to be like his own distant dad, Gil juggles his white-collar job with his duties as a father of three. In other words, he’s a burnout case waiting to happen.

SETTING AN EXAMPLE After a birthday-party cowboy fails to show up, Gil turns a bathmat into a pair of chaps and improvises a winning Wild West routine that wows the kids.

EMBARRASSING MOMENT When he misses a crucial catch in a Little League game, high-strung Kevin blames papa Gil (who’s the team’s coach) for giving him an infield position he wasn’t cut out for. Gil suddenly envisions the adult Kevin as a bell-tower sniper, screaming, ”You made me play second base!”

FATHERLY ADVICE ”Nice shot, son!” Gil imagines himself telling Kevin. ”It’s important to be supportive.”

WHY YOU’LL WATCH Stressed-out parents, children, and just about everyone else will find someone to identify with in Ron Howard’s sprawling family comedy.

MORE FATHERLY FUN Martin continued to play overburdened dads in the Father of the Bride movies, as well as in Cheaper by the Dozen and Bringing Down the House (both 2003).

EW MOVIE GRADE A-

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