Son in Law (1993) — The Weasel learns the farm life

“It’s a special quality of leadership that captures the popular imagination and inspires allegiance and devotion.”

Andie’s rating: 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 farmgirl 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 and brings Crawl with her, her small town yucky boyfriend proposes on the spot. To save the day, Crawl says that he’s already engaged to Becca. This causes quite a stir as 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).

Of course, 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 vs. Country

Justin’s review: Pauly Shore is a matter of eternal debate in discerning cinematic circles. Back in the era we liked to call “mid-90s,” many naturally assumed that Shore was either the Beast of Babylon or at least a very annoying MTV-spawned character. His giggly talk and idiotic ticks won a few hearts at first, but before long, everyone had enough of the Weasel and he was sent on a one-way trip to oblivion (New Jersey).

Now that we’re well past the era of Pauly Shore, I can admit that I have built up a tolerance to him in small amounts… in the right film. Encino Man? No problem. In The Army Now and Bio-Dome? Those are crammed into my garbage compactor and then burned for good measure.

If you pressed me on the subject, I’ll admit that Son in Law is probably the best of the Pauly Shore Criterion Collection, if only that it took a well-worn “fish out of water” premise and didn’t mess it up too much. I love the first part of the movie, where Rebecca (Carla Gugino) goes to college, meets strangely-named Crawl (Shore), and learns about college life in general. Alone, it serves for a nice addition to collegiate cinema.

Through Crawl’s dubious tutelage, Rebecca experiments with a new image and a more freewheeling California attitude. Basically, she 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 expedition into South Dakota farm life. Now, I’ve been to South Dakota, and I want it known that it’s a pretty nice place. Not as bad as evil North Dakota, what with its 16 people and flat plains never-ending. Rebecca’s new changeover doesn’t sit well with her conservative family and boyfriend, nor does Crawl’s bizarre behavior 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 style. He gradually converts most of the natives to his cause while Rebecca takes the increasing backseat to all of the goings-on. At least her family gets some fun character arcs to explore, from the pudgy brother who finds a mentor in Crawl to the uptight dad who truly looks out for his own.

If nothing else, Son in Law offers the chance to sit back and laugh at how the fashion of 1993 mocked our very nature. Pauly Shore with his butt hanging out from chaps marked the transition from grunge into goth with a pit stop at slackerville, and it’s just as gruesome as it sounds.

Didja notice?

  • Crawl’s idea of “Country farm boy” clothes is absolutely priceless.
  • Link from Encino Man is back in a brief college scene!
  • Nice windmill/tree fort! I want one
  • Zack wears a shirt that says “Seduce Me Please”
  • What computer 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!

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