Daddy & Them

DADDY & THEM. 2001

Director: Billy Bob Thornton

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

A foul-mouthed family of Alabama rednecks come together over one of their number being charged with murder, in a disturbing black comedy of nutty relations.

Although Billy Bob Thornton rips into American White Trash in Daddy & Them in a manner that might offend some, in the main he shows enough humanity underlying all that dysfunction that it is finally an upbeat statement about how even the idjits & outcasts of society possess human worth & wisdom.

For my own tastes the "weak" part of the film is the overwritten & overwrought love monologs Billy Bob wrote for himself & which one cannot help but think were intended at one point for Angelina Jolie rather than for Laura Dern's character. These seem horridly sentimental speeches at odds with the dark tone of much of the humor, & could've been just a hair more restrained & a lot less wussy.

I also wanted to see more of the hillbilly characters played by singer John Prine (who was great) & the late Jim Varney (who was not in the film long enough to really be showcased). Billy Bob having written it as well as directed it really made it a star vehicle for himself & I think even his role would've been improved by unselfishly enlarging a couple of the characters that supported his. In all, though, it is a grand quirky comedy.

A lot more fun than the movie is a short subject included in the DVD extras called "The Return of Karl" in which Billy Bob reprises his famous role from Sling Blade in what appears to be an off-the-cuff in-character performance.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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