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Promotional film poster
|Directed by||Peter Faiman|
|Produced by||Robert Weissman|
|Written by||John Hughes|
|Starring||Ed O' Neill
|Music by||Alan Silvestri|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Running time||90 minutes|
|Box office||$4,603,929 (United States)|
Dutch (released in the UK and Australia as Driving Me Crazy) is a 1991 American comedy-drama film directed by Peter Faiman (his second and last theatrical film, after "Crocodile" Dundee) and written by John Hughes. The original music score was composed by Alan Silvestri. The film stars Ethan Embry (as Ethan Randall), Ed O'Neill and JoBeth Williams with a cameo appearance by golfer great Arnold Palmer. O' Neill and Embry would work together again over a decade later in the 2003 version of the series Dragnet. Ari Meyers and E.G. Daily co-starred.
Dutch Dooley (Ed O'Neill) attends a ritzy party with his girlfriend, Natalie Standish (JoBeth Williams). He stands out terribly among the upper-class aristocrats – wearing a cheap suit and telling boorish anecdotes. Natalie's relaxed, less rigid personality also does not fit with the rest of the patrons. While there, Dutch meets Natalie's snobbish, wealthy ex-husband Reed (Christopher McDonald), who tells Natalie that he will have to break his Thanksgiving plans with their son Doyle (Ethan Randall) for an unexpected business trip to London. He also threatens to strip Natalie of her custody of Doyle if she gives Reed a hard time. Dutch overhears this in the background and then threatens Reed with bodily harm should he hurt Natalie.
Natalie calls Doyle at his private school in Georgia and invites him home for Thanksgiving, who rudely denies the offer and expresses his disdain for his mother, accusing her of causing her marriage with Reed to fail and result in divorce. Despite this, Dutch sees this as an opportunity to get to know Doyle and further his relationship with Natalie, so he offers to go to Georgia and bring Doyle back to Chicago for the holidays.
Upon arriving in Georgia, Dutch finds that Doyle is much like his father: snobbish, selfish and elitist. He welcomes Dutch by throwing a book at his face and shooting him in the groin with a BB gun, to which Dutch promises revenge. Dutch ultimately hogties Doyle to a hockey stick and carries him to the car, starting out on the drive back home.
The trip entails many mishaps: a fireworks show Dutch gives Doyle in an attempt to make Doyle warm up to him goes awry when one lit rocket lands in the bag and sets off all the fireworks at once, Dutch throwing Doyle out of the car and making him walk to the next motel by himself (which Doyle gets even with by parking Dutch's car in the path of an oncoming semi truck, which totals the car and risks the truck driver's life) and hitching a ride with two prostitutes (E.G. Daily and Ari Meyers) who steal their luggage and leave them stranded with no money.
Doyle calls his father, who lied to Doyle about his trip to London; he instead spent the holidays with a girlfriend. This, as well as a comment from Dutch that Doyle "hates his mother", visibly disturbs Doyle and makes him regret his own callous attitude. Dutch initially gives up and wants to call Natalie for assistance getting home, but Doyle refuses and insists on getting home on their own. They sneak a ride on the back of a semi truck and are assaulted by security guards at a cargo storage station; Doyle feigns insanity and pretends voices in his head are telling him to kill the guards, which frightens the guards enough to allow them to escape.
The two enter a restaurant, where they meet a married couple who takes them to a homeless shelter in Hammond, Indiana for the night. While there, Doyle grows fond of a young girl and her family. While getting to know them, he finally realizes that he has been neglecting his mother and indeed wants to be with her for the holidays. The next day, the family drives Dutch and Doyle to Natalie's home, where Reed is waiting. Doyle shares an emotional embrace with his mother and reveals to Reed that he knows that he lied about his trip to London. Doyle decides to stay with his mother instead of going with Reed for Thanksgiving; angered, Reed subsequently gives Natalie only several days to pack and leave the house, which he owns. Dutch follows Reed outside as he departs and makes good on his promise to hurt Reed, putting a dent in his forehead with his pinky ring. He then demands that Reed will be respectful of Natalie and be a better father to Doyle in the future, to which Reed incoherently agrees.
The film ends with showing Natalie, Dutch and Doyle at the dinner table about to begin the Thanksgiving feast, when Dutch tells Doyle to get Dutch's coat, as it contains a very special gift for Natalie. As Doyle turns to walk away, Dutch pulls the BB gun Doyle originally shot him with and finally gets his revenge on Doyle by shooting him in the groin.
- Ed O'Neill as Dutch Dooley
- Ethan Randall as Doyle Standish
- JoBeth Williams as Natalie Standish
- Christopher McDonald as Reed Standish
- E.G. Daily as Hailey
- Ari Meyers as Brock
- L. Scott Caldwell as a homeless woman
- Kathleen Freeman as Gritzi
- Arnold Palmer as himself
Dutch received extremely poor reviews from critics, where it has a 14% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 3.7 out of 10 from 21 reviews. It was also a flop at the box office, grossing less than $5 million compared to its $17 million budget.
Despite poor reception from critics, the film has garnered a cult following and was released to Blu-ray Disc on January 17, 2012.
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