First Year Father
With her boyfriend John (Drew Seeley) heading off to Harvard Kathy (Britt Irvin) fears that she will lose him to a Harvard girl. So when Kathy tells John she is pregnant he does the honourable thing and marries her, arranging for them both to go to Harvard as a married couple. At first being young and married with a baby on the way is great but with the pressure of studies and Kathy struggling with nothing to do the cracks start to show and they get worse when she gives birth to a son as she is unable to cope. When it all gets too much for her Kathy leave John with their son adding even more pressure on him.
I'm having a Murtaugh moment because as I watched "Freshman Father" I felt like I'm too old for this sh!t. In fairness "Freshman Father" has a good story based on a true story of a Harvard freshman who is left holding the baby when his young wife can't cope and leaves him. But the way the movie is handled is too romanticized, too soft and too pleasant so it isn't a grittily realistic drama about a young father's struggles but more of a rose tinted inspiring one.
In truth there is actually a lot to like in "Freshman Father" especially when it gets to the point that Kathy leaves John as she can't cope. That is where the movie actually grows up as John has a whole lot of issues to deal with from having to relinquish his married couple's accommodation to his continual battle to get to grips with Calculus. There are still things wrong with it, characters are far too nice and the realism is not there but it has an uplifting, inspirational quality about it as John refuses to be beaten.
Unfortunately the first half of "Freshman Father" is where it struggles as it desperately tries to appeal to a younger audience, playing on the cuteness of the young couple and the overly patient John. It probably does work for a teen audience because Kathy and John are nice and all the characters have a nice edge to them especially when John and baby move in to the spare room of an amusingly quirky psychic played by the wonderful Annie Potts. In fact I am sure teens will love it especially in the humorous way John has to deal with things such as talking his baby with him to a test and gets support of some nice teachers. But needless to say real life is certainly not as simple, as amusing or as full of nice people as this.
Keeping in mind that "Freshman Father" seems to have been made with a young audience in mind it has to be said the performances are good with Drew Seeley coming across as the nicest guy in the whole wide world. Whilst Seeley is nice you then have Britt Irvin doing a good job of the stressed out young mother. But what makes the movie is the wonderful Annie Potts as the amusingly quirky but loveable psychic Dorothy who becomes a mum to John, helping him cope as a single dad.
What this all boils down to is that "Freshman Father" is entertaining, it is cute and it is kind of inspiring. But it is also a movie which has turned a true story into something which is bordering on the cheesy by being so nice with overly nice characters and avoiding reality and the grittiness of life.