Domestic Disturbance (2001)
Review Date: November 02, 2001
Director: Harold Becker
Writer: Lewis Colick
Producers: Jonathan D. Krane
Mom and Dad are Divorced and My Stepfather is a Killer! That would have been the B-movie title of this movie and it pretty much describes the whole plot. Of course, the son's real dad is the only one who believes him and tries to help him out, but nobody believes him either, connect to dot B here, connect to dot C here, etcetera and so-forth.
I don't consider myself a critic. I think I'm just a major movie fan who happens to write movie reviews on a website that I've slapped together. With that in mind, I try not to "look down" on certain movies when they highly resemble other films, because let's face it, not everyone has seen every single movie in the world. Why hold my "movie geekness" against all future generations of movie watchers? I try to gauge each movie on its own merits and scratch my two cents down through this keyboard. I say all that because this movie has been done before...in fact, it's been done quite a few times! It's been done with a cop who seems like a "nice guy" at first, but then turns out to be a psycho (UNLAWFUL ENTRY), it's been done with a nanny who starts off as a "nice girl", but then turns out to be a psycho (THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE), and it was most recently produced as "parents" who starts off as a "nice couple", but then turn out to be quite psycho (THE GLASS HOUSE). The formula is pretty basic and the development of the story, quite predictable (anybody who's seen the trailer of this film, can pretty much guess every step of the way). But what makes films like these either "work" or not, is whether or not they are able to entertain you, even with their contrivances, offer you a couple of thrills, good performances and believability, along the way. In my case, I enjoyed the flick to a certain extent and thought that it did offer a pretty engaging story for the most part, with solid performances from both Vaughn and Travolta, some very cheap thrills (but nothing really intense) and enough believability for me to swat aside the few small plot holes that popped up here and there.
I've never been a fan of major plot holes in thrillers (see ALONG CAME A SPIDER and DON'T SAY A WORD), but thankfully, this one played that line pretty well. It's not necessarily because of its excellent screenplay (which is actually pretty straight-forward), but more to do with the fact that the film just doesn't get into too many details (see editing issues below). Travolta's son believes Vaughn's character to be a psycho...nobody but his dad believes him...a "thriller" ensues. I was entertained overall, but probably more on a "video movie" level. Other than Vaughn, who plays the ideal "creepy guy", Travolta, playing the "worried dad" very well and Steve Buscemi, playing the perfect "weasel" as he does in most films ("I kid you not"), the film doesn't try anything out of the ordinary, but does deliver an okay time-passer (does it even last 90 minutes?). You also gotta give it up to Travolta for that "puffy long hair" look...sorry bud, Jeff Bridges has got that market cornered already and Vaughn, for not even trying to lose that "puffy face" look for the movie...dude, don't overdo those late night drinking sessions...we need you in the movies! The film does however feel like it's been majorly chopped up by someone in the editing process, feeling very rushed at times and obviously missing many scenes from the trailer (I loved it when Travolta said "I wanna see you burn!" in the trailer, but it's not in the film, among many others). I guess the DVD might have the complete movie, or about 22 deleted scenes or something, but for whatever's left on the screen here, it's an okay time for anyone looking for...well, an "okay time".
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian