Why is it that when filmmakers remake the best of the French comedies, the American versions are unfailingly featherweight puff pieces, nearly devoid of comedy? "Three Men and a Baby" and "The Three Fugitives", two unfortunate films in this tradition, are now joined by the treacly "My Father, the Hero". Although it stars Gerard Depardieu ("Green Card"), an acclaimed French actor who was the star of the film on which this one is based, this makes little difference in the substandard quality of the film.
Andre (Depardieu), a divorced father living in Paris, takes his 14-year old daughter, Nicole (Katherine Heigl), on a three week tropical vacation. At first they don't get along because Andre hasn't been around too much lately, and because Nicole is going through an insolent phase due to her budding womanhood. But, eventually, Nicole warms up to her father and allows herself to enjoy his company on their vacation. What threatens this contentment is the fact that she has a habit of wearing skimpy outfits and attracting the attention of smooth-talking romeos substantially older than herself, much to her delight.
Nicole becomes infatuated with one of these men, a guy named Ben who lives in the resort town. He's younger than most of the men she attracts, but still too old for a girl of jail- bait age. Nevertheless, they hit it off and continue to do so as long as Nicole continues to lie about her age. But little white lies aren't all she tells and soon everyone at the resort is under the impression that Andre and Nicole aren't related at all but rather that they are lovers. The situation gets further complicated when Nicole deceives Ben into believing, in addition to everything else, that Andre is dying. Of course, by the end of the film all lies must be confessed and the chips left to fall where they may.
If you can't predict what will happen every step of the way in "My Father, the Hero", then you probably have never seen another movie. It's a film without much substance, humor, or originality. Watching it instead of a real comedy is like eating styrofoam packing instead of popcorn. Besides, there's something almost profane about seeing a 14-year old chasing after much older men and trying to embark upon a love affair. This kind of stuff may sell in France, but here it seems like so much debauchery.