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   FATHER'S LITTLE DIVIDEND (1951) 

CAST
Spencer Tracy
Joan Bennet
Elizabeth Taylor
Don Taylor
Billie Burke
Moroni Olsen
Richard Rober
Marietta Canty

DIRECTED BY
Vincente Minnelli

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 82 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Comedy


Tracy and Taylor reprise their father/daughter relationship in this sequel to the popular FATHER OF THE BRIDE. This time around Stanley Banks (Tracy) finds himself struggling with the concept of becoming a grandfather when he believes he's still in the prime of his life. He seems to be the only one disgruntled about the situation. His wife Ellie (Bennett) and fellow in-laws (Taylor and Burke) can't contain their happiness. Their constant exuberance and attempts at helpfulness begin to drive Kay (Taylor), the ever-expanding, expectant mother, right up the wall. She turns to Stanley for help because he seems to be the only sane parent. What she fails to realize is that he's not participating in the shopping, decorating and baby name suggestions because he wants nothing to do with the impending bundle of joy.

He becomes the voice of reason, settling his own nerves by helping the young couple maneuver the troubles between themselves and the other parents. Unfortunately for him, his initial reluctance at becoming a grandparent isn't assuaged by the baby's arrival. The infant seems to sense his displeasure and responds accordingly by screaming his lungs out anytime Stanley comes near him. To end their standoff, Ellie agrees to baby-sit for a weekend, hoping that Stanley and his first grandson will find some way to bond. The baby ends up charming the pants off everyone, including Stanley, when a mishap at the park almost ruins their chance for a truce for good, Of course, it takes actually losing the baby for Stanley to realize that his presence is a new beginning, not a premature end.

While this film (and its' predecessor) give Tracy a chance to show his lighter side, he's not a true comedian and his gruff manner, though sometimes appropriate, spoils the playful tone of the film. If at all possible, the plot is even thinner than the first with Tracy having nothing to do but mope and grumble. There's a lot more inherent comedy in the overwhelming and complicated quagmire of planning a wedding, than there is in waiting for a baby. The filmmaker's try to be clever by giving the usual situations a twist and though the outcome is amusing, it's not as fun as you want it to be. The real heart of this movie is the relationship between Tracy and Taylor and they make a loving and sweet father/daughter pair. Their connection is palpable and it's too bad they don't have more scenes together. The film tends to drag when they're not onscreen. As a whole, DIVIDEND is a film everyone can enjoy, it's just not one most people will remember.






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