Ed O'Neill (of Married With Children notoriety) portrays Dutch Dooley, a working class ...
Ed O'Neill (of Married With Children notoriety) portrays Dutch Dooley, a working class Chicagoan dating recent divorcee Natalie Standish (JoBeth Williams). At a ritzy dinner with Natalie's former husband in attendance, Dooley volunteers to drive the couple's teenage son home for Thanksgiving. Snooty dad Reed (Christopher McDonald) deems Dutch too incompetent, though mom seizes the opportunity for the two to bond. Natalie and Reed's son, Doyle (Ethan Randall) attends and resides at an expensive private school in Georgia. The youngster's peers dislike him, disgusted by Doyle's conceit for others -- a trait inherited from Reed, whom he idolizes. Dutch's initial meeting with his potential stepson is disastrous; rather than a cheerful welcome, Doyle attacks Dooley with a swift kick to the face, followed by shots from a pellet gun. The brat is quickly subdued however, lugged unwillingly into Dutch's car. Doyle resents visiting his mother, hoping instead to accompany Reed on a supposed business trip to London. By his father's instruction, Doyle holds Natalie responsible for the couple's horrible separation; Dutch is merely a victim by association, though his blue collar upbringing repulses the boy similarly. Dooley's attempt to earn Doyle's friendship appears hopeless at first, though the ordinarily straight forward journey to Chicago quickly goes awry. Soon Doyle has no choice but to cooperate with Dutch, and inevitably lower his guard in the process. Laughs ensue as the duo weaves in and out of tight situations, reminiscent of the classic Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. The film's soundtrack features artists such as Ziggy Marley, Johnny Cash, and Hank Williams. Rating: PG-13