Son in Law (1993)

son in law

“Oh my God, I’m such a fan of your wine coolers. Which one are you, Bartles or James?”

The Scoop: 1993 PG-13, directed by Steve Rash and starring Pauly Shore, Carla Gugino, and Lane Smith

Tagline: He’s a relative nightmare.

Summary Capsule: The weasel works the land.

Andie’srating: If only my RA had been Pauly Shore!

Andie’s review: I don’t care what anybody says about Pauly Shore, I think he’s funny. What makes Son in Law so great is that not only is Pauly Shore funny, but he’s surrounded by great supporting characters.

Son in Law is a great story of small town South Dakota Rebecca (Carla Gugino, who is so pretty) going to college in California. Her resident advisor is Crawl (Pauly Shore) who gets her to loosen up and love college. When she goes home for Thanksgiving, bringing Crawl with her, her small town yucky boyfriend proposes and to save the day Crawl says that he’s already engaged to Becca. This causes quite a stir because her family can’t stand Crawl. The boyfriend especially has it in for him and tries to set him up, which involves a Kelly from Saved by the Bell striptease (my beloved memories of that show are forever scarred).

But Crawl and Becca patch things up and everything’s dandy. What makes this so funny are Becca’s good ole boys Grandpa and Dad and her mom, whom Crawl brings out of her shell, and her cute little brother. The highlights include Crawl taking a tractor for a joyride and doing square dance calling at a dance, it’s hysterical. Pretty mindless entertainment, but good nonetheless.

Justin’s rating: College meets Country

Justin’s review: Pauly Shore is a matter of debate with you and your local religion. Back in the era we liked to call “Mid-1990s,” many naturally assumed that Shore was either the Beast of Babylon or a very annoying MTV-spawned character. His giggly talk and idiot natural routine won a few hearts at first, but then sent him with a one-way ticket to oblivion. To me, Shore never was so much annoying as mildly funny and majorly stupid. I used to watch Encino Man and Son in Law regularly, but began to drift away from the Shores of Pauly when we hit In The Army Now and Bio Dome.

I’ll concede that Son in Law is the best of the Pauly Shore Collection, if only that it took a well-worn premise (city boy in country life, fish out of water, creative genius wins locals over) and didn’t screw it up too much. I love the first part of the movie, where Rebecca goes to college, meets her strangely-named resident advisor Crawl (Shore), and adapts to college life in general. Alone, it serves for a nice addition to collegiate cinema. Crawl points out Rebecca’s new freedom, which translates into a (loud, feminine voice) MAKEOVER! and tattoos and other wild exploits. Rebecca does what I’ve seen hundreds of college freshman do when they taste freedom: go hog-wild and essentially insane. It’s fun to watch.

This all serves as a wild prologue to Crawl’s Thanksgiving expedition into South Dakota farm life. Now, I’ve been to South Dakota, and it’s a pretty nice place. Not as bad as evil North Dakota, what with its 16 people and flat plains neverending. Rebecca’s new changeover doesn’t sit well with her farm-conservative family and boyfriend, and Crawl gets a lot nutty rampaging around the farm.

Through typical Comedic Plot Intervention, Rebecca and Crawl make an unholy alliance to act engaged, because Rebecca’s former boyfriend wants to propose. Well, color me bright tapioca! There certainly could be NO room for misunderstanding with THIS plot!

As I said, there’s nothing too new here. We get a lot of episodes of Crawl grappling with country life and eventually succeeding in his own idiom, we get Crawl converting the natives to a more wild lifestyle, we get some family misery and pathos. I especially liked Rebecca’s family, who all seem to defy the stereotypes they were given. Particularly Rebecca’s pudgy little brother, who makes an unlikely friend in Crawl.

If nothing else, you can sit back and laugh at how the fashion of 1993 mocked our very nature. Pauly Shore with his rear hanging out from chaps marked the transition from grunge into goth, with a pit stop at slackerville.

Let us give thanks, bu~uddy.


  • Crawl’s idea of “Country farm boy” clothes is absolutely priceless.
  • Brendan Fraser makes a cameo eating a frog, a reference to Encino Man in which both Shore and Fraser starred
  • Nice windmill/tree fort! I want one
  • Zack wears a shirt that says “Seduce Me Please”
  • What system does Zack own, exactly? Random Symbols and Graphics ’93?
  • For those Pauly haters, watch the scene where he gets punched and falls down over and over again!
  • The guy who plays Becca’s dad is Perry from “The New Adventures of Superman” and her little brother is the catcher in “The Sandlot”

Groovy Quotes:

Crawl: Where are you from?
Becca: South Dakota
Crawl: Fresh off the farm, oh my God, I can’t believe it. Hallelujah. So you’re inbred?
Becca: What?
Crawl: You know, where your mom’s your dad, and your dad’s your brother.

[to Becca’s grandpa on the porch]
Crawl: Oh my God, I’m such a fan of your wine coolers. Which one are you, Bartles or James?

[square dance calling]
Crawl: If your girl is finger-lickin’, grab her now and do the funky chicken!

Crawl: Let’s just get the rules straight here. There’ll be absolutely no partying in this hall between the hours of 5 and 6 in the morning, without my express written permission. OK cool. Carry on.

Crawl: My name’s Crawl and I’m the RA. And you are? No wait, don’t tell me – Sally? Jessie? Raphael?

Walter: [after a boy in the hall has his towel whipped off] This is the, um, opportunity you had in mind for your daughter?

Walter: Dammit Zack, I think your brain produces a chemical that blocks out my voice!
Zack: [puts a bra over his ears] I can’t hear you!

Walter: I need a screwdriver.
Crawl: I’m sorry, I’m all out of vod-ka!

Crawl: You have a daughter! Is she hot?
Walter: What?

Crawl: You have got charisma! [whips out a leatherman]
Rebecca: What is that?
Crawl: It’s a special quality of leadership that captures the popular imagination and inspires allegiance and devotion.

Crawl: Yeah, okay, Goldilocks naked two doors down.

Rebecca: Does it hurt?
Tattoo shop owner: It’s better than… a kick in the face with a golf shoe.

Crawl: You’ll be happy to know that right after you left, I popped your daughter’s trunk!

Walter: Uh, Crotch…
Crawl: Crawl.

Crawl: Ease up on the steroids! The jewels will shrivel up into sun-dried tomatoes!

Mother: Get away from that man!
Little girl: Ming-eling, mom!

Walter: What kind of name is that, anyway?
Crawl: Nickname. They gave it to me freshman year, because that’s how I always got home.

Connie: Let’s just calm down and deal with this like adults.
Walter: Right. You distract him and I’m gonna hit him over the head with a shovel.

Crawl: Zack hooked me up with last month’s issue, the poisons have left the building!
Rebecca: Thank God.

If you liked this movie, try these:

  • Encino Man
  • In The Army Now
  • Funny Farm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s