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By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
May 04, 1992


Ted Kotcheff
Tom Selleck;
Don Ameche;
Anne Jackson;
Christine Ebersole;
Wendy Crewson;
Michael Murphy
violence and profanity

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Tom Selleck's got more problems than Job in "Folks!," a ghastly hybrid of '90s bathos and black comedy about a stockbroker coping with his father's senility. Selleck, who loses bits of his body as a consequence of his dad's forgetfulness, isn't a character, he's a victim of director Ted Kotcheff and screenwriter Robert Klane, who have taken complete leave of their senses. A romp about Alzheimer's? I mean, really.

Selleck plays a really decent guy who makes passionate love to his wife, tucks in the kids and walks the dog. But he has to be punished because he is the '90s equivalent of a witch -- a stockbroker.

He goes to Florida to authorize an operation for his mother (Anne Jackson), who is more worried about leaving her husband (Don Ameche) on his own than about her own surgery. When he is reunited with the old man, Selleck is slow to realize that Dad is not the man he was and lets him drive the family's vintage Caddy off the nearest dock. That's how Selleck loses the vision in one eye.

Ameche then burns their little trailer home to the ground, and Selleck is obliged to bring the folks back to his chic Chicago apartment. His wife (Christine Ebersole), a good mother and understanding spouse, is forced to leave for the children's safety when Ameche shoots Selleck in the ear. In addition to losing his job, home, car and furniture, Selleck also bids adieu to one of his testicles and a toe. Kotcheff and Klane, whose last comedy was about a stiff at a resort, are probably unable to contain themselves at funerals.

"Folks!" is rated PG-13 for violence and profanity.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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