Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A less-wholesome family movie

I linked yesterday to my obituary post of Van Johnson, which includes a photo of him in the movie Yours, Mine, and Ours. A very different movie with a blended family aired today on the Fox Movie Channel, Six Pack.

Kenny Rogers stars as a down on his luck stock car driver going from town to town in small-time races in the South. He stops off in one such town and, while eating a cheap lunch, sees his racecar being dismantled for parts out the window. Naturally, he gets in the motorhome he's been using to tow his car, and chases down the culprits -- and what he finds shocks him. The thieves are six orphaned siblings, who have been more or less forced into stealing cars by the corrupt local sheriff, who has threatened to break up the family if they won't do his bidding. Rogers has some sympathy for these urchins, offering to take them to where they think they've got an aunt who might be able to help them. Along the way, however, he finds that their mechanical skills, and other forms of ingenuity, could actually help him as a racecar driver.

Six Pack isn't a terrible movie, but it's certainly nothing truly classic, either. The plot is somewhat trite, and despite having children in the cast, it's not quite as good to show your children as something like Yours, Mine, and Ours. Indeed, one of the kids has a toilet mouth that would make a sailor (albeit not one in a Studio Era movie) blush; although it should be pointed out that Rogers is horrified by this. There's also the compulsory love interest (Erin Gray) and the predictable ending. Kenny Rogers wasn't a particularly talented actor, although this is the sort of role that comes closest to suiting his limited abilities. Watch also for a young Diane Lane as the oldest of the six orphans.

Six Pack has been released to DVD.

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