Golden Oldie Guidance
Veronica Statlan (Catherine Mary Stewart - Weekend at Bernie's) has run out of ideas and options when it comes to her son Dylan (Alex Black) as following his latest bust up, he has been expelled from school. Desperate for help she calls her dad, Bart Cahill (Edward Asner - The Christmas Card), in Greensville and asks if he wouldn't mind having Dylan stay with him for the summer in the hope that some old fashioned male guidance might sort her son out. Hating every minute of being stuck in the sleepy backwater town of Greensville, Dylan is kept busy by Bart with one chore after another. But slowly he not only grows to like the place he also grows fond of his grandpa as well as the attractive Jenny (Danielle Savre - The Perfect Stalker) who he meets in the town.
Now the chances are that if you are a fan of made for TV movies you will have stumbled across at least one movie, probably more, which has a similar storyline to "Generation Gap". The set up of a troubled teen being sent to live with a relative is a familiar one and so when Dylan's mum sends him to stay with his grandpa you can guess what is going to happen. You can guess that when Dylan arrives in Greensville he is going to hate it and want to leave but despite a few initial issues will bond with his former military Grandpa, becoming close to him and eventually growing into a responsible young man. There are really no surprises other than the abruptness to the way "Generation Gap" ends.
But whilst "Generation Gap" is ultimately predictable it certainly has plenty of old fashioned charm. Bart Cahill as a former military man may be a bit of a walking cliche but the way he gets through to young Dylan by working him hard and treating him with respect is the sort of fun character that you wish was real, that relative who could take a troubled teen and straighten them out. And Bart's friends from the FVW are just as much fun as they have the spirit of human kindness when they welcome Dylan as one of their own. Basically this is the stuff of what you wish life was like where relatives would step up and help out when you are struggling with a rebellious teen. Yes that does make "Generation Gap" corny in places which if it wasn't for it having a strong message and various teachable moments would have been more of an issue than it ends up.
Fortunately there are plenty of strong performances which make up for the corny stuff and with a cast which alongside Edward Asner also features Ralph Waite, Rue McClanahan and Hal Williams this is a movie for those who have a fondness for some older and familiar actors. In many ways whilst Alex Black should be the star of "Generation Gap" it is Edward Asner who shines as he gets across everything about his character, the tired old military man, the man who can see potential but also sees the errors in his own ways.
What this all boils down to is that "Generation Gap" is not anything especially original and basically works through the story of a troubled teen who through a summer with their grandpa grows up. But it is charming, fun and has some nice performances especially from the older cast led by Edward Asner.