Picks and Pans Review: Getting Even with Dad

updated 06/27/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/27/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Macaulay Culkin, Ted Danson

At a Saturday morning screening of this mawkish father-son comedy, an escaped toddler kept trotting up and down the aisle, squealing with delight at his fledgling navigational abilities. He was having the most fun of anyone there.

Culkin plays a precocious 11-year-old here who outfoxes his ex-con father (Danson) and, in the process, teaches the old man about the joys of parenting. He does this by hiding the rare coins Dad has just stolen. His ransom demand? That Pop spend five days taking him to baseball games, skating rinks, amusement parks, etc. Will father and son bond via these activities? Does the candy counter have Junior Mints?

Getting Even is Home Alone grafted onto a father-son reunion theme. This makes it both tediously derivative (complete with two comic bad guys, played broadly by Saul Rubinek and Gailard Sartain) and excessively saccharine.

Danson has the most fun with his charming tough guy character. His is a loosey-goosey performance—maybe it's the ponytail he gets to wear. Culkin, edging perilously close to adolescence, overdoes the poor, poor pitiful me act. As a lady cop wise to Danson but unwisely falling for him, the baby-voiced Glenne Headly has a couple of amusing scenes. (PG)

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