The kids rule in this second-generation who’s who list of grown-up rugrats testing their talents on an audience accustomed to seeing their parents’ credits on the screen. The casting must’ve been easy: Director Jake Kasdan (son of Lawrence), lead Colin Hanks (son of Tom), lead’s lady Schuyler Fisk (daughter of Sissy Spacek), alongside a host of star-studded cameos. They are: Ben Stiller (Jerry’s kid), Chevy Chase, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Kline, Harold Ramis (writer, producer/director), Garry Marshall (brother of Penny), and Mike White (screenwriter, Chuck & Buck, Orange County), reminding us once again that nepotism is alive and well in Hollywood.
This is another teen movie: a few notches above the Freddie Prinze fare, with the decency to spare us the toilet humor. Jack Black gets a nod for honing his ‘druggie/loser bedecked in Fruit of the Looms’ image, and Catherine O’Hara (of Second City TV), and John Lithgow (of TV’s Third Rock) do an adequate job as the dysfunctional mom and pop. Colin is Shaun Brumder, the A-student with writing ambitions stuck in Orange County with dumb surfie friends and a whacked-out family. His dreams include entering Stanford to pursue his passions, but along the way he learns some of life’s ãbigä lessons.
There are a few laughs and some moral moments, but I’m not convinced the film’s pedestrian storyline will reach beyond the teen market. If that’s all it’s intended for, then “surf’s up, dude” is the greenlight word on this one.