Picks and Pans Review: In His Father's Shoes
Essentially a warm and simple family story, this TV movie (part of Showtime's monthly series of "Original Pictures for Kids") wanders too far afield. Blame those traveling shoes, a pair of magic two-tone wing tips which were given to the dying Frank (Louis Gossett Jr.) by a Gypsy woman. After Frank succumbs to cancer, his grieving 13-year-old son Clay (Robert Ri'chard) tries on the snazzy footwear and, presto, he becomes his father in 1962. The entry to the past gives Clay an opportunity to understand the strained relationship between his father and his grandfather Richard (also played by Gossett). Unfortunately it also gives the filmmakers a pretext to trot out a bunch of time-transport clichés: The kid confuses his '60s pals with his use of '90s slang, flashes his hip-hop moves instead of doing the twist and innocently disrupts a classroom discussion of "current events" by mentioning the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy. Clay eventually learns much of value through present-day, heart-to-heart conversations with his mother, Janice (Barbara Eve Harris), his grandmother Virginia (Djanet Sears) and his crusty but not totally unfeeling grandpa. He could have saved all that shoe leather.