Family Rescue (1997)
Grandpa and the Bandits
When Emma (Rachael Leigh Cook - Carpool) was just a baby she was abandoned by her teenage mother Angie (Ally Sheedy - Ultimate Betrayal) as she couldn't cope and so was raised by her grandfather Clayton (George C. Scott - Angus) a tough coal miner. Having turned 15 Emma decides to visit her mother who lives just over the state line in the hope of understanding why she abandoned her but there she meets Angie's no good boyfriend Ray (Don Diamont) who not only flirts with her but one night gets her drunk and rapes her. When Emma returns home to Clayton she tells him what happened and he is ready to kill Ray especially when after the baby is born Ray takes Emma to court to get custody of his child. Unwilling to accept the judge's decree Clayton takes matters into his own hands with some help from all the men who respect him for being a decent guy.
"Family Rescue" which is also known as "Country Justice" is what I call a mood movie as you really have to be in the right mood to watch it. If you are then what you will get is a touching and fun story about a protective, hard working grandfather doing right by his family. But if you are not you get a cliche ridden, plot hole filled story which combined with some over use of sweet music borders on the annoyingly sentimental.
Now I normally enjoy movies like "Family Rescue" and was looking forward to watching this as it stars George C. Scott but surprisingly felt under whelmed by it. Maybe the issue is that for a movie which clocks in at just 96 minutes it tries to cram too much in as we start with an incident to establish what sort of guy Clayton is, then there is a scene featuring Angie abandoning Emma, then Emma turning 15. None of which is wrong but seems to be rushed as none of it gets the time and space to become real and more than cliches.
Eventually it does stop messing around with the subplots and settles on the main storyline which is the custody of Emma's child and the battle for it which is when it also gets amusing. But again everything about it has that semi cliche, sentimental feel which you really need to be in the right frame of mind for especially with the prominent soundtrack which just adds to that sentimental feel. I suppose what I am saying is that rather than being a gritty dramatic movie which it could have been it is one which prefers to go for sweet and feel good drama with just an occasional moment of darkness.
Despite this "Family Rescue" does still charm thanks to who is in it even though the actors which include George C. Scott, Rachael Leigh Cook, Ally Sheedy and Don Diamont are not given the best written characters to work with. Considering George C. Scott played strong characters through most of his career watching him play a tough but caring grandfather is just great as he plays it like the grandfather we all wish we had, the protective and loving sort with just the right amount of mischief about him.
What this all boils down to is that "Family Rescue" is not a great movie but one which demands that the audience is in a forgiving mood and want some thing which has a wholesome even old fashioned style.
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