So what is worse? Trailers that tell you too much about an upcoming
movie or ones that mislead you?
HOME FRIES is in the latter category. The trailers make you think it is
a light-hearted, romantic comedy, but the movie features a family that
settles it arguments with military, attack helicopters. Even if the
film isn't quite what it seemed to be, it is extremely cute, filled with
lovable, oddball characters within a ridiculously crazy plot.
A sweet-as-Apple-pie Drew Barrymore plays the lead, Sally. Poor Sally
is a very pregnant unwed mother. The father of her child is married and
doesn't support her, so she works at the local Burger Matic. With her
head sporting ten-pounds of red curls, she looks like she just came back
from an audition for the musical "Annie."
In the first part of the story, her lover's two stepsons, Dorian (Luke
Wilson) and Angus (Jake Busey), are sent by their mother, Mrs. Lever
(Catherine O'Hara), to kill their stepfather. Mrs. Lever, who
specializes in feigned grief, claims she didn't really want him killed.
When they go after their dad with the aforementioned helicopter, they
cause him to have a heart attack and die.
Meanwhile, back at Burger Matic, Sally's headphones get some
interference that lets her hear part of the helicopter attack. Dorian
then goes to work undercover at the fast food restaurant to determine
exactly what Sally knows. In the process they fall in love.
As Dorian, Luke Wilson delivers a touching portrait of a troubled guy.
His brow constantly furrowed, he comes to love Sally and her unborn
child, but he is troubled by the implications of it all. Sally sums up
their predicament on the way to the birthing room. "You can't be the
father and the brother at the same time!" she cautions. "That's the
kind of thing that messes kids up."
Fast food, a prime part of Americana that movies generally ignore, plays
a central role in this comedy. Dorian chants the hamburger recipe as a
form of mantra. And the funniest scenes in the movie happen at the
Burger Matic. The best is a simple one in which Dorian is taught the
precise way that they make their burgers.
HOME FRIES isn't much of a movie, but it is a charming one thanks to
some lovely performances. Where else could you get a film in which the
most romantic scene happens at a Lamaze class between two people who
only recently met?
HOME FRIES runs 1:33. It is rated PG-13 for mature themes and some
sexual humor and would be fine for kids around 11 and up.
Copyright © 1998 Steve Rhodes