Like Father Like Son (1987) — Could this swap for a better movie?

“Me and him are inseparable. The age difference doesn’t matter because we think like an adult, and we also do other things like an adult.”

Justin’s rating: Will anyone notice that I swapped bodies with Al?

Justin’s review: Hey, it’s time for another ’80s body swapping comedy! Never made sense to me why we got more than one of these, nevermind the half-dozen or so that emerged from this time period, other than the fact that it allowed the cast to act way outside of their normal range.

Plus, I guess the plot doesn’t really matter because it’s always the same: Some weird thingie exchanges brains between two people who are already having a hard time understanding each other, and by literally living in each other’s shoes, a connection and empathy is established. Plus plus, the old person gets to act like a kid while the kid gets to act like a grown-up.

For Like Father, Like Son, our key players are Dr. Jack Hammond (Dudley Moore, Arthur) and his 12th grader son Chris (Kirk Cameron, Growing Pains). Jack’s a little too much into his work and Chris is struggling to follow in his footsteps while yearning for Lori (Camille Cooper) a few lockers down. Because the method of body swapping never makes sense in these movies, here it’s some mystical potion created by natives somewhere for medicinal use only. Or some kids messing around by putting a cat’s brain into a dog and vice versa.

Chris (in his dad’s even shorter body) makes a botch job of being a doctor, while Jack (in his son’s frame) hangs out with super-chatty Trigger (Sean Astin) and re-learns the halls of high school. Astin as the comedy sidekick is easily the best part of a generic outing, if only to see him try to be Corey Feldman. Maybe it’s a Goonies exchange program in the works?

Another staple of these movies is that there’s a lot of messing up at first, but after a while everyone finds their weird groove. Also, there’s usually a lot of uncomfortable romantic situations with troubling ramifications depending on who’s doing what to whom at which age.

What’s absolutely absurd about the premise here is that everyone — Jack, Chris, even Trigger — immediately understands how the brains got transferred. Yet even with some more serum literally sitting on the shelf, nobody thinks to, y’know, try again to fix everything. It’s a plot hole so big that all of the humor was able to escape.

The soundtrack kept pressuring me to feel like I was having a crazy and wacky time. The soundtrack lied.

I have a hard time coming up with a reason why you’d want to see this over other body swapping comedies from the era, unless you were on a kick or something. Moore and Cameron aren’t quite good enough in these roles to really entertain, there are few if any memorable quotes, and the film doesn’t ever do anything interesting with the body swapping that we haven’t seen elsewhere.

Didja notice?

  • Hey it’s Limpy! That’s my favorite dead desert guy.
  • Seems kind of rude to dismiss the class in the middle of a presentation
  • “Are you SERIOUS?” “No not really.”
  • The Friday the 13th chant followed by a gushy stab
  • The MTV intro made me smile in nostalgia
  • The brain transference serum has its own soundtrack
  • The cat barking
  • Oh my, a fashion montage

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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