Like Father, Like Son (1987)

like father

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Father/son switch roles.

Dr. Jack Hammond (Dudley Moore) is highly absorbed in his position as surgeon at a local clinic while hoping to get a promotion to chief of staff. His teen son Chris (Kirk Cameron) has problems of his own whether it is with school work, girls, or bullies. The two don’t see eye-to-eye on much, but then one day one of them drinks a mysterious potion that allows them to switch bodies and see what the other half goes through, which ends up being an eye-opener for both as well as leading to many expected calamities.

This film could best be described as the male version to Freaky Friday and would’ve been a complete disaster if it hadn’t been for the engaging performances of the two leads. After doing Arthur and getting on top of the Hollywood A-list Moore made a lot of poor film choices, but this was one of his better later-career moves and allows him to display his comic versatility and for the most part he is quite funny. Cameron is surprisingly good as well and it was interesting seeing him play against his squeaky clean, religious image that he has now by playing a character, who buys porno mags, jams to MTV and even at one point gives a guy the finger.

The comic scenarios are amusing, but could’ve been played up much more. When Chris is in Jack’s body he seems to behave much more like a 13 or 14-year-old instead of a high school senior. Jack’s behavior when in Chris’ body has issues too. I thought it was funny when he gets up and gives a long lecture to a biology class because that is a subject that he is an expert in, but then when he gives another one to his history class it was pushing the joke too far because no adult is going to be an expert at every subject. I also found it curious that he is surprised when he gets ostracized after snitching on another student as logically we must assume he did attend high school once himself, albeit a long time ago, so he would still remember what the teen culture was like and therefore be able to predict and expect some of the reactions he gets instead of being completely thrown off by them.

There is never any explanation, or at least none that I can remember, about the missing mother, or wife character. I realize that there are many single parent households in the world, but it still would’ve added some extra comic zing by having a mother/wife in the mix. To make up for this it incorporates instead a horny wife character of the hospital’s administrator (Patrick O’Neal) that is played by Margaret Colin who comes onto Moore and even arrives at his home for a sexual rendezvous that outside of a scene involving a burning sofa is pretty dumb.

The ending is a bit corny and the script only touches the surface to what could’ve been a comic minefield of possibilities, but it’s still okay entertainment if one approaches it with low expectations. You can also spot Bonnie Bedelia in a small, nonspeaking part as a woman who gets a wad of gum stuck in her hair.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: October 2, 1987

Runtime: 1Hour 39Minutes

Rated PG-13

Director: Rod Daniel

Studio: TriStar Pictures

Available: DVD, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube

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