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Danielle Steel's Daddy
Visual Entertainment Group/Visual Entertainment Group . R4 . COLOR . 100 mins . PG . PAL

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I had no idea that Danielle Steel is one of the greatest comedy writers of all time. Forget films such as Airplane, The Life of Brian and Animal House. Danielle Steel’s Daddy is a brilliant piece of comedy art that equals, nay, surpasses some of this centuries finest work from talents like Chaplin, Belushi and William Shatner.

This fine tribute to over a century of celluloid is about a father, Patrick Duffy (The Man from Atlantis) who is married to Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway). They have a seemingly perfect life, him with a great job and three wonderful kids, the oldest of which is a young Ben Affleck (Matt Damon’s buddy). However, life isn’t so sweet for Mulgrew, who thinks it’s time she followed her dream of being a writer, a dream she gave up to have a family. So, off to school she goes 200 miles away from her family, and before long she’s enjoying her freedom, getting laid and asking for a divorce. Well, Duffy’s none too chuffed about this and discovers he’s got to be the father, breadwinner and now the mother for his family which is going to pieces. A big job promotion takes him to another city where he meets and falls in love with Lynda Carter (ba bada baa Wonder Woman!) who rekindles his desire for a normal married family life while he struggles through parental turmoil and tries to keep his family together.

You simply cannot even begin to imagine just how funny this film is. I'm not talking "haha funny" but slap yourself in the head, "what the friggin hell is going on here? What is this crap?" funny. Steel has written what is an obviously female role for Duffy, who does his best to play it straight while spouting lines you’d expect from a bad female soapie actress. You WILL believe he is a woman at times. This story and the characters are so clichéd you'll be constantly amazed. Even Duffy's father in the movie, played by someone I couldn’t have cared less about, just walks around being old and wise while his own wife goes from normal to suffering from Alzheimer’s while walking from the lounge to the dinner table. Fifteen minutes later she’s dead and he’s remarried. What the F**K is going on in this film? It’s as though they took one look at the script and said “Cut out every second line of dialogue and every third scene!” I’m assuming of course they even had a script, I think it’s possible that they just read straight from one of her books. It probably wouldn’t matter which book, because I imagine that they’re all the same.

The actors, hoo boy, the actors all do such a great job of keeping a straight face while talking utter crap dialogue that my mouth hit the floor about a dozen times, so amazed was I with their sincere dedication to mediocrity. The less said about the performances the better.

On a final note, do people really buy the crap Danielle Steel writes? How can she live with herself? She can’t be serious. She even does an intro to the film, which tells us about what we’re about to see. She looks so insincere and phony doing it, that you just know you’re going to hate the film before it starts. When she personally says goodbye at the end of the film, you’re filled with a renewed sense of purpose in life to go out and burn down every last bookstore which stocks her books.

And a note to Steve, our editor here at DVDnet: send me another DVD like this and you’ll be running the site from a hospital bed. Kappish?

  Video
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Contract

What to expect when watching this low budget quickie made for television movie on DVD? You can expect a fullscreen image, brightly lit sets, plenty of warm colours, oodles of detail and a clean image. There’s barely a flaw to be found, or maybe I just wasn’t looking hard enough.

Audio is courtesy of a bland stereo mix which does the job with a minimum of fuss. Dialogue sometimes gets a tad muddy, but I was hard pressed to care, and I don’t think it made a lick of difference to my understanding of the story as I refused to go back and listen again. Basically what we have here is your typical television movie effort, just a little clearer courtesy of the magic of DVD.

Thank God the only extra on this DVD is a few pages of notes about the other Steel movies available.

You’ve probably figured out by now that I’m not a fan of Danielle Steel. I guess she must be pretty popular to have her trashy novels made into telemovies though. If you happen to be a fan of hers (and I can’t for the life of me understand why you would insult your own intelligence) you’ll be reasonably happy with the look and sound of the film on this DVD.


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  •   And I quote...
    "The "Rid the World of Danielle Steel Fund" is now taking donations."
    - Vince Carrozza
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-525
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB930
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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