Frank Morrison (John Travolta) is definitely one of life's good guys. You can tell by the care he puts into building wooden sailboats, which no one does anymore because everybody wants fiberglass and plastic these days. For this, some folks might call Frank a loser, if he weren't so gosh-darned committed to his 12-year-old son, Danny (Matt O'Leary).
Boy, are these two close! You can tell by the easy rapport they have over burgers and iced tea. Nothing stronger for Frank to drink, you understand. It's hinted, though never stated outright, that he had a problem with the strong stuff, which is the only plausible explanation for a good guy like Frank to be divorced from Danny's mom, Susan (Teri Polo).
Mom, on the other hand, has real problems handling Danny, who can't understand what she sees in this new guy, Rick (Vince Vaughn). Yes, he's taller and thinner than Frank, and the way he throws money around isn't what you'd expect from a loser. But Rick is impatient with Danny and yells at him a lot. Danny would rather live with Frank. Who wouldn't? But Frank, good guy that he is, tells the kid to stop acting out his hostilities and accept his new stepfather to make his mom happy. Although unruly and prone to lying, Danny is too well-raised to tell Mom what the rest of us would: that she's a dithering moron too dim to see there's something creepy hanging around Rick. Its name is Ray (Steve Buscemi), who is clearly not one of life's good guys because he wears polyester, doesn't shave and wonders why the town doesn't have an adult bookstore.
Danny inadvertently witnesses a fatal encounter between Rick and Ray, and he tries to tell the cops that his new stepdad is a coldblooded killer. Nobody believes him except Frank, because he's the only one Danny never lies to.
"Domestic Disturbance" is so TV-movie-of-the-week that you wonder throughout why you can't use a remote to find a decent ballgame.
You also wonder why such a slapdash project, loaded with dialogue as wooden as Frank's boats, and cliches as limp as spoiled fruit, would be allowed into theatrical distribution.
A non-critic leaving the theater where this was prescreened said on the way out, "This is what they do when they think everybody's going on strike."
Memo to Hollywood: People aren't as dumb as you think.
MPAA rating: PG-13, for violence, brief sexuality and language. Times guidelines: too intense for children.
John Travolta: Frank Morrison
Vince Vaughn: Rick Barnes
Teri Polo: Susan
Matt O'Leary: Danny Morrison
Susan Floyd: Diane
Steve Buscemi: Ray Coleman
Paramount Pictures presents a De Line Pictures and Jonathan D. Krane production, released by Paramount Pictures. Director Harold Becker. Producers Donald De Line, Jonathan D. Krane. Screenplay by Lewis Colick, based on a story by Colick & William S. Comanor & Gary Drucker. Cinematographer Michael Seresin. Editor Peter Honess. Costume designer Bobbie Read. Music Mark Mancina. Production designer Clay A. Griffith. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.
In general release.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun