30 July 2004 | rsoonsa
SCRIPT SPOILS THE FUN.
"Family Productions" assists with the bankrolling of this item, and so it can be no surprise that a preceptive message rests within its tired plot that essentially wastes the skills of Judge Reinhold, a fine comedic player. Lessons, of course, can be learned from a truly didactic work, but such is not the case here as cliches abound in this tale of a man compelled by his former wife's death to assume parental responsibility for his ten year old daughter Sam (Samantha) who is naturally demoralized since the tragedy. The opening scenes demonstrate the rapport of the young girl with her ill-fated mother while weaving in examples of the disparate lifestyle of divorced father Dr. Jason Fielder (Reinhold), pop psychologist author of works such as "Feel Your Feelings", it becoming apparent that the two will not enjoy an easy merger. At any rate, Sam (Steffi Lineburg) joins her playboy dad at his Malibu residence and, as they are in constant conflict she interferes with his activities, causing him to consider a boarding school for Sam, a method of shunting her off and away, to her consternation. The angel from the title, of the guardian type, is played by Carol Kane in a role that is underwritten to the level of extraneity, since she has virtually nothing to do with a developing relationship of father and daughter, in the event becoming nearly a cameo. A primary difficulty with hackneyed scripts such as this is their inevitable slide into predictability, and this well-intentioned low budget affair offers nary a scene that is not visible by telescope, with even the obtrusive and gratingly pallid thematic score providing no artistic interest. Particularly in several scenes that satirize psychology gurus to the masses, Reinhold does his best to rise above his lines in order to create a role, but dialogue swallowing Lineburg is obviously directed to perform as a cynical and sarcastic pre-teen, and she does exactly that in a generally expressionless reading that gives her potential epiphany an unrealistic quality mirroring the body of this shallow production.