Two brothers, Dorian (Wilson) and Angus (Jake Busey) are small-town Texans
who spend their weekends flying Army helicopters for the National Guard.
When their mother Beatrice (O'Hara) suspects her husband Henry of fooling
around, she convinces the boys to give him a little scare. So rather than
jumping out from around a corner and yelling "boo," they follow
their stepfather one night in their Apache gunship, chasing him into a field
and opening up on him at close range with their 50-caliber machine guns.
They're shooting blanks, of course they don't want to harm
the guy but he croaks anyway, from a heart attack.
After Henry's gone, Beatrice feigns distress to everyone but her sons
and begins a hunt for the woman who turned Henry's head. I'm not sure why
she cares that much; she obviously didn't love the man. But she's determined
to find the object of his affection, whom she sees repeatedly in her dreams
(as a queen ant). And she asks Dorian and Angus to help with the search.
The boys know that the night they pulled off the caper, they heard interference
in their radio headsets from the local Burger-Matic, which also uses radio
transmitters to talk to drive-through customers. They decide Dorian should
get a job there to check out the possibility of witnesses, and he soon finds
the employee who heard them: the irresistably cute and charming Sally (Barrymore).
But what he doesn't know is that Sally is the very woman Henry had been
seeing and is in fact pregnant with his child. While Dorian is learning
how to assemble cheeseburgers, he himself becomes attracted to the woman
his mother wants to catch.
Home Fries is certainly not for everyone. The casual attitudes
toward death and the strange family relationships may turn some people off.
But the film's charm lies in its complete disregard for convention. Director
Parisot has instructed Wilson and Busey to defy the script and play their
intelligent characters as a couple of country boys. And it works in a strange
sort of way, adding to the bizarre feel of the story. Barrymore proves once
again that she's got the coy thing covered, but it would be nice if she
could control the ever-present smirk long enough to make us believe something
she's saying. She does have some nice moments, though, such as when she's
trying to remember to pant correctly while in labor and under armed helicopter
Gilligan has yet to distinguish himself as a writer, but Parisot's choices help to mask the flaws in the script. He deals with an offbeat script by employing an offbeat directing style. I like it. Some may not. ****
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