Fathers' Day (film)

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Fathers' Day
Fathers day poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ivan Reitman
Produced by Ivan Reitman
Joel Silver
Written by Francis Veber (film Les Compères)
Lowell Ganz &
Babaloo Mandel (screenplay)
Starring Robin Williams
Billy Crystal
Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Nastassja Kinski
Bruce Greenwood
Charles Rocket
Patti D'Arbanville
Music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography Stephen H. Burum
Edited by Wendy Greene Bricmont
Sheldon Kahn
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • May 9, 1997 (1997-05-09)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $85 million
Box office $35,659,604[1]

Fathers' Day is a 1997 comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Nastassja Kinski. It is a remake of the 1983 French film Les Compères.

In the film, Collette Andrews (Kinski) enlists two former lovers, cynical lawyer Jack Lawrence (Crystal) and lonely, ex-hippie, suicidal writer Dale Putley (Williams) to help her search for her runaway teenage son Scott by telling each man that he is the father. When Jack and Dale run into each other and find out what's happening, they work together to find Scott and determine the identity of the actual father.

The film features an appearance by the musical group Sugar Ray, and Mel Gibson makes a brief uncredited cameo appearance. IMDb credits Gibson as "Scott the Body Piercer". Catherine Reitman and Jason Reitman have small roles.


Scott (Charlie Hofheimer), a 17-year-old kid, runs away from home with his girlfriend, Nikki (Haylie Johnson). His mother Collette (Nastassja Kinski), visits her ex-boyfriend, lawyer Jack Lawrence (Billy Crystal) and tells him that Scott is really his son and wants him to find him, to which he refuses. Writer Dale Putley (Robin Williams) is planning suicide when he gets a phone call from Collette, whom he is also another ex-boyfriend, and she tells him the same story and wants him found, to which he accepts. Realizing that his appointment with a client will make him stay over night, Jack changes his mind and decides to find Scott, starting with Russ (Charles Rocket), the father of Scott's girlfriend, where he and Dale meet. Thinking their sons are together, they go to the Marina to meet Scott's girlfriend's mother, Shirley (Patti D'Arbanville), and learn that they went following rock band Sugar Ray. But when she asks for a picture of their sons, and it is learned that Jack and Dale have been told the same story that they're Scott fathers and call to confront Collette. She confesses that she doesn't know, but begs them to find Scott then they'll settle the situation. The two agree and they head for Sacramento where they find Scott, drunk and lovestruck. Soon after, they bring him back to their hotel room, and the next day, Scott wakes up to the news of who they are and what's going on, and he doesn't take it lightly. While Dale watches him alone, Scott escapes by pouring coffee over Dale's testicles. Dale gets in touch with Jack and they head to Reno, where Sugar Ray is now at. In Reno, Scott meets up with Nikki and the gang they're hanging out with at a hotel, until he meets two drug dealers that he once took a job for involving $5,000 (to which he spent that money buying Nikki a necklace). He manages to escape but soon gets hit by a car, driven by Jack and Dale. Now with a broken arm, Scott demands Dale and Jack to leave him alone. But later that night, Scott opens up with why he ran away, and that it's because of Nikki; she's his first love, but his parents disapprove of her, and they argue. They start getting along, then Scott tells them about the drug dealers, so they decide to help him. They go back to the hotel with Scott in the car, but when Jack and Dale go inside, the two drug dealers spot Scott and attempt to kidnap him and later kill him until Scott takes off with Jack's rental car. Jack returns outside, sees the car gone, and assuming Scott had been lying to them the whole time, calls it quits and decides to go home. Just then, Jack's wife Carrie (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is at the hotel, following Jack (and Dale) because she's been confused and concerned given Jack's odd behavior. He tells her the truth about Scott, and that he could be the father, and the news sends both of them out of the hotel. Later, Jack and Carrie have an argument over the fact that Jack, having negative feelings of Scott and his actions, makes her scared over how he'll react with his own child. Jack sees her point, and arrives at a Sugar Ray concert where Dale is also there finding Scott. They find him again, and watch as he confronts his girlfriend, to which she breaks up with him. Now heartbroken, Scott is then grabbed by the drug dealers, to which Dale and Jack fight them and soon a huge fight erupts within the crowd. Freed from jail, Jack, Dale, and Scott head home where Collette and his father Bob (Bruce Greenwood) embrace with their son. Collette tells the truth to Scott that neither Jack nor Dale are the father, but Scott understands what happened because his parents wanted him home so bad. Scott then lies to both Jack and Dale, separately and privately, that they're the father, right before they leave. Jack figured out that Scott lied, but isn't mad but is rather happy as it has given him a new outlook over having children. Dale, riding in Jack's car, spots a woman having car trouble on her way to the airport. Upon finding out that Virginia (Mary McCormack) is single, takes a shot and decides to take her to her destination by car, much to Jack's annoyance.



In South Africa, Fathers' Day was released as What's Up Pop's?, a title the distributor decided would be more appropriate for the local market. The name was subsequently changed to What's Up Pops? for DVD release, when they realized the apostrophe had been used incorrectly.


The film received generally negative reviews from critics and was commercially unsuccessful with audiences. Fathers' Day holds a 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 59 reviews.[2]

Julia Louis-Dreyfus was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress for her work in the film, where she lost to Alicia Silverstone for Batman & Robin.[3]


  1. ^ "Father's Day - Box Office Data". The Numbers. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "Fathers' Day". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  3. ^ "Home of the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation". Razzies.com. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 

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