“ICMN is just a front to watch all your favorite movies under the veil of irony,” my brother Eric texted me before when I told him of my illustrious viewing choice for this evening. And he’s not wrong, at least not about “Like Father, Like Son.” Back in the day, Kirk Cameron was the sophomore crush effort to Michael J. Fox. I love me some wiseass. And Kirk Cameron was full of sass and pizzazz. Plus! Curly hair! So I used to watch this movie as often as I could. The last time I can remember watching it was one of the last days in my family’s Merrick house. I was almost 13, about to go out on my first date since Dick, and saying goodbye to the only house I’d ever lived in. The sun was streaming in all dusty in the basement like in “Peggy Sue Got Married,” and I was saying goodbye to a lot. In a way, this is the last movie of my childhood.
But anyway, now I’m all cynical and have moved many times, so let’s dig into this baby! RIP Dudley Moore.
It opens with the old familiar Pegasus of Tri-Star, so I’m immediately happy.
I always block out the boring opening. A guy crawls through the desert and dies for like 20 minutes. This shirtless dude comes over and carries him. Oh, the guy’s not dead after all. The movie does that awkward ‘80s stuff with magical Native Americans.
This scene is interminable.
The Original Guy drinks from a jug of magic tea. We can tell it’s magic by the music.
Here’s Kirk! And Dudley, who is explaining science to his bored son. Kirk keeps saying “I got it,” but Dudley’s not having it. And we find out that Kirk is in 12th grade.
High school. Kirk is giving a speech but I didn’t write down about what and can’t remember for the life of me.
“Grey’s Anatomy” hospital scene. Oh, this movie taught me what “rounds” were! All of my scientific knowledge comes from movies, television, and Baby-Sitter Club books.
Dudley is an Important Doctor.
The mom from “7th Heaven” works at the hospital, and looks exasperated. She says “Policy, schmolicy,” and we see that she is fighting for poor patients and Dudley is a yuppie sellout. 7thHeavenMom is professional but still wears her hair down and is in a peach shirt.
Sean Astin is Kirk’s friend! They are in school an Kirk is lusting after this blonde chick who is bitchy because she is the blonde chick in an ‘80s movie. He asks her out awkwardly to go to a concert, and says she looks like Heather Locklear. Blonde agrees to go to the concert to make her boyfriend jealous.
That sassy brunette from the ‘80s is here with Dudley’s boss. And the movie quickly becomes a softcore porn movie, minus the nudity.
Science class! They are all dissecting frogs. Kirk is saying it’s wrong and he has to KILL the frog before dissecting it! He stabs it. Poor frog 😦
Surgery! And an intern is wearing Carol Seaver’s glasses.
High school track. Kirk is running in a half shirt. Blonde’s boyfriend “Rick” is wearing a skimpy tank top that shows his nipple and he’s getting in Kirk’s face, mad that Kirk got made “anchor” and is taking Blonde to the concert. And like, did people do this back in the day? Date other people when they have boyfriends? It always happens in the movies, but I’ve never seen it happen IRL. At least not where all the parties knew about it.
Kirk is upset that he got a C on I guess the frog dissection or maybe his speech from earlier, and Sean said that his dad would give him his porno collection if he got a C.
Kirk drives a red Jeep and wears a pale green button-down shirt unbuttoned over a t-shirt.
It’s the guy from the beginning, and he is Sean’s Uncle Earl and Sean says that his uncle has brain transference serum. Kirk isn’t buying that such a thing could be real, and starts to leave so he can go break the bad news about his C to his dad. But not before saying to Sean, “And if brain transference has anything to do with having your head handed to you, you and your Uncle Earl can come on over to my house and watch,” and he says it SO EMO.
Kirk’s at home, bopping on the couch to MTV, and the doorbell rings. It’s Sean Astin. Kirk says, “I thought you were my dad,” but why would his dad ring the doorbell? Anways, Sean has the brain transference serum.
OMG my cat Dr. Von Rockenstein is on screen! And suddenly Kirk has a dog as well, like where were all these pets before? And Sean and Kirk test the serum on the animals and the cat starts barking and chasing the dog who meows!
Shoutout as Sean mentions a panther. And he is wearing a light purple button-down shirt open and it has palm trees on it. He says that Blonde is used to guys like Don Johnson and Sylvester Stallone, and Kirk is not like those guys. Then in another awesome move as a friend, he blows up Kirk’s spot about the C.
Dudley is drinking a Bloody Mary. Which apparently is actually BRAIN SERUM because he and Kirk switch bodies 😮
Dudley: I’m old!
Oh it’s because he put Tabasco sauce in his Bloody Mary, and I guess that’s where the brain serum was? Not sure. But they’re switched, and Kirk (I’m just going to call them by the names their bodies are, so as not to give myself a stroke) scoffs at the idea of brain transference serum. But just as he does this, the cat jumps up and barks! Now a believer, Kirk threatens Sean Astin that he better fix this, while Dudley cries.
Cut to Dudley, staring horrified in the mirror.
Kirk, lying in bed and gazing at the ceiling.
Dudley finds a wallet in his suit pocket.
Kirk is wearing sneakers on the bed >:o
Dudley pulls out an American Express card and smiles. Good luck finding someone who takes AmEx, Dudley!
Dudley goes to Sean Astin’s house and throws rocks at the window to get his attention. It doesn’t work, so he climbs a tree. The tree is like, a tall twig with some branches, but Dudley channels Ozzy Luth and shimmies up. It bends back, and he falls in front of Sean’s parents’ window where they are reading in bed, and Sean’s dad is none other than “Buffy’s” Principal Snyder!!!
Lol, ‘80s montage of Dudley and Sean driving like in “Teen Wolf” but with a different surf-y song. They are going shopping with Dudley’s credit cards to buy movies and porn! And where are they, where Sean’s parents were getting ready for bed, yet all these stores are open? Anyway, back in the car Dudley stands up and flips around the Jeep, so it really is like “Teen Wolf.”
Bar. Every woman looks like a hooker. An AWESOME song plays, an ‘80s sexy ballad. Dudley orders a martini. The bartender won’t serve Sean Astin so he goes “to gets me a woman.” Dudley drinks his martini and looks like a woman in his teal blazer with shoulder pads, and makeup, and hair like Linda Ronstadt. Across the bar is Softcore Lady from before. She also has hair like Linda Ronstadt.
Sean Astin is wearing like…a button-up turtleneck? But kind of Sergeant Peppery, and it is pink with black buttons and paired with a purple and yellow blazer. He hits on Softcore, but is rebuffed.
Wang Chung is playing as Dudley parties!
At home, Kirk wakes up. It’s morning.
Dudley arrives home, stumbling out of the car.
I guess they think it was a dream, because they each look in the mirror and scream.
Dudley drunk drove 😦 The Jeep is on the lawn. Kirk yells at Dudley and says he is grounded. Some random dude in the background on their lawn cheers Kirk on.
Dudley is eating Cocoa Puffs and Kirk admonishes him that he is on a diet. Sean shows up and eats Cap’n Crunch straight from the box, yet his mouth does not bleed.
Kirk gives Dudley a note for him to call work and read. Kirk’s going to school. Dudley is horrified and runs after the car and tries to stop Kirk. Dudley then lies down in the road, but Kirk just goes in the other direction.
“Dude Looks Like a Lady” plays as Kirk parallel parks a Jaguar as Sean stands up in the car.
Rick is here, all butthurt and 39 years old. Blonde shows up and kisses Kirk to make Rick jealous. Blonde is an asshole. But Kirk looks impressed with his son in a nice bit of acting.
High school. Kirk can’t find his class, and is walking all stiff and shuffly. He acts rude to the other kids as he tries to find a seat. He tells someone touching him to “Stop that!” and someone in the background mimics him over and over really loudly.
Kirk asks, “Is this seat taken,” and an awesome stoner/slacker who is 32 if he is a day says, “Naw, we saved it just for you, dude.”
The teacher busts Kirk for being late and asks sarcastically if Kirk thinks he has a firm grasp on the respiratory system and Kirk’s like, “Absolutely,” ‘cause he’s a doctor, you know. He calls the teacher’s diagram remedial and starts giving a speech about science.
A lady at the hospital tells Dudley’s Boss that Dudley is sick. Boss says that’s a first and he’ll drop by his house to check on him like, stalk much, Boss?
Dudley’s housekeeper leaves to go get groceries, and so we get a montage of Dudley Having Fun. He blasts the stereo and screaming and it’s as if he’s never had the house to himself or was kept under the stairs like Harry Potter his whole life.
Kirk is a know it all in yet another class, annoying the teacher by being the only one to answer questions, and it’s like maybe if none of your students can answer any of your questions besides a middle-aged doctor, maybe you need a new approach.
Dudley’s standing on a table playing air guitar and SCREAMING “Yeah yeah yeah yeah” for some reason, like those aren’t the lyrics; he’s just yelling “Yeah” over and over again like a toddler who just learned a new word. Anyway, Boss comes in; I guess Boss just lets himself into his employee’s houses in as foreshadowing to the drug testing and Facebook page prying of today, and Dudley is so busted! Boss says he will see Dudley at the hospital and not for nothing, but if Dudley has never, ever taken a sick day can’t Boss just calm the heck down and cut Dudley some slack?
High school. Kirk tattles on a classmate and Sean facepalms.
Dudley drives the Jeep to the hospital. He’s all tissue-shaving-cut. Two doctors show up and remind me of the villains in “Funny Games,” all creepily white and pastel, and they are shocked that Dudley is chewing gum.
Dudley goes into the hospital and it looks and sounds more like a zombie video game with all of the SCREAMING and TERRIFIED RUNNING.
High school cafeteria. Sean exposits that he’s been trying to reach Uncle Earl. Kirk lectures Sean about nitrates. They’re in one of those cafeterias that I only ever see in movies, with really long tables. Everyone moves away from Kirk, as he is now a pariah. Sean compares him to Charles Manson.
Dudley hides in his office.
REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY long scene of Dudley all, “I could get used to this!” about his nice office, and he talks to a skeleton. Some dude comes by and asks if he could do rounds for him. So hijinx ensue as Dudley leads his interns around and is silent. Lol, he’s just meandering around the file cabinets and stuff. Then goes, “Great rounds,” and an intern says they’re supposed to see a patient. So they go see a patient and someone gives Dudley the patient’s binder. Dudley asks the guys to take it, and for their opinions. So the interns are all shocked to be listened to, and help out. Dudley is like, okay let’s do that, and then shouts, “God! This is great! I love it!” which I remember from the commercial.
High school. A girl wishes Kirk luck on the track meet.
Dudley bums a cigarette from a fellow doctor in this hospital meeting, though I never see them having meetings on “Grey’s Anatomy,” and he starts coughing, like this is the first time he’s trying a cigarette. So he lets it just hang from his mouth, drops it, picks it up, smokes some more, and coughs again. Then he drops it in the ashtray, which catches fire.
Oh, 7thHeavenMom is here at the meeting.
Dudley now chokes on his gum, which I guess he still had in his mouth while “smoking,” and spits it into a woman’s hair across the table.
7thHeavenMom is passionately defending poor people again, and everyone’s like, “Oh this again – women!” and 7thHeavenMom calls people out on being afraid to stand up to Boss and send this proposal to committee to be heard. Something like that. And Dudley’s like, “Hell, I’ll second it!” and 7thHeavenMom beams with Renewed Hope At the Glimmer of Old Dudley. Then the boss delivers a truly hilarious line about Dudley being full of surprises today, first with the gum “and the cigarette trick,” and the fire, and now this. This actor is awesome, and maybe looks familiar, but I don’t know from where?
Dudley stands up before the meeting’s been adjourned and goes, “Hey are we out of here, or what?”
7thHeavenMom asks what’s up with the change of heart and Dudley talks about the “hypocritical oath.” 7thHeavenMom is like, “I didn’t think you had it in you,” like thanks a LOT, 7thHeavenMom for your passive aggressive compliments.
Scene from the commercial where people tell Dudley to hit a patient, so Dudley punches the patient in the face.
High school. Track meet. Their colors are green and white. Rick has 20 pounds of mousse in his hair even though he has to run, and he gets up in Kirk’s grill again, and omg, lay off the ‘roids, RAGE BOY!!!
Cut to the meet, where Kirk is messing up – not taking the baton, having to go back, dropping the baton. And after Dudley behaved at the meeting, Kirk’s clumsiness seems more like how Kirk would be even if Kirk was Kirk, and not Dudley as Kirk.
Okay, so this is really weird. In the stands, there is, from left to right:
A guy in a letterman jacket
A cheerleader in a green and white jacket
A cheerleader in Sunnydale maroon and gold
All cheering their asses off. ??? First of all, okay, I guess the guy in the jacket could just be a football player who really DIGS track, but why is that green and white cheerleader there, in uniform but in the stands? And why is an enemy school cheerleader just standing there next to her?
Slo-mo as Kirk runs to an ‘80s anthem-esque “Yeah, you can do it!” song. Kirk runs really hard and makes faces and people are REALLY PSYCHED and cheering and the coach makes the best, most dramatic faces since Jennifer Love Hewitt on “Kids, Incorporated.”
You think that Kirk’s won as he dives onto the ground, but he dove 10 yards too soon and never crosses the finish line, which Sean Astin explains to him.
Dudley is in the hospital parking lot, and so is his intern, and this show really makes being a doctor in a hospital look like a normal 9 to 5 job. Dudley asks Intern if he’s okay, ‘cause he’s having trouble with his car. Intern is surprised to see Dudley Exhibiting Humanity.
High school. Kirk walks with Sean and Rick is thugging out as per usz. Kirk goes, “You want to have a fist fight?” Rick responds with, “That’s right, Dork Vomit.” Kirk just gets in his car, ignoring Rick and Sean’s all scared, but Kirk starts the car and runs over Rick’s foot.
Kirk at home. He is horrified to learn from the housekeeper that Dudley went to work. Dudley pulls up just then with all the interns, and they are all SCREAMING with joy. Dudley tells Kirk that he went for pizza with his interns and Kirk is so MAD. They walk around the house fighting. First Kirk yells at Dudley about the pizza, then Dudley is mad that Kirk lost the track meet.
Phone rings. It’s Blonde! Whose name is Laurie! Because every blonde in ‘80s movies and television was named Laurie or Debbie! Dudley begs Kirk to take Laurie to the concert as planned, so Kirk reluctantly goes.
Concert! To see Autograph. Laurie is cheering and Kirk is hilariously covering his ears, in terrible pain. He is wearing a gray jacket with shoulder pads, and tries to get Laurie to leave.
Dudley opens the door and it’s Softcore, here to have sex and Dudleys’ all 😮 They awkwardly kiss, and it really is like Kirk-Kirk is supposed to be five or maybe 10, but definitely not 17.
Since Softcore is brunette, she is Sexually Aggressive and really earning her moniker in this scene. They kiss again, and she walks into the living room. She sits down and asks Dudley for a drink and some music. Dudley puts on loud music (Autograph?) but turns it off after seeing Softcore’s displeasure. Then she says it’s a little bright in here and she certainly is demanding for someone who just showed up unexpectedly at this dude’s house. She sulks as Dudley looks for candles and brings cans of Bud, and then somehow he starts yet another fire, but this time on his couch, which he pushes into the pool. Softcore says, “I have beer at home,” and “Good night, (Dudley).” What a bitch!
Kirk has driven Laurie home, saying it’s good they left early because now they still have the rest of the night to get things done, and she slams the door with an exasperated sigh.
Rick BREAKS THROUGH THE GLASS OF KIRK’S CAR DOOR WITH HIS BARE HANDS!!! And pulls Kirk out and beats him up. Kirk stumbles home all bloody in a shoutout to the zombie video game at the hospital.
Kirk and Dudley are back together again. They glare and fight as Dudley stands in the shower with his suit still on. Dudley spits water at Kirk and screams, “Why don’t you leave me alone and let me live my own life!” and Kirk yells back, “How can you live your own life? You can’t even live my life!” which sounds really deep, but actually is not logical whatsoever.
Sean Astin is here! Uncle Earl knows where the antidote grows, so they are going on a trip to Death Valley in search of some root.
Dudley finds the root! So they squat around the fire to make the magic happen. Only Kirk says he doesn’t squat. They make him anyway, and he says, “I feel DAMN silly,” and bitches at Uncle Earl. Uncle Earl gives them the magic tea but nothing happens.
Earl: Sometimes it takes awhile.
Kirk: Mumbo jumbo. Damn!
And then he storms away and it is hilarious.
They’re in a school bus for some reason and they go to a truck stop, where someone is inside screaming and giving birth! As you do. Screaming Lady says she has a son, and Kirk says, “So do I,” as he delivers the baby and tells Dudley to watch. The lady yells “Ow” a lot, and the baby comes out totally clean.
And Kirk is wearing a peach button-down shirt with gray slacks.
Hospital. Boss comes into Dudley’s office, and Dudley is sleeping. Kirk-Kirk better invent Facebook or something, because no way is he making it through medical school, dumbass walking Id that he is. Boss is saying that he’s supporting someone else for chief of staff. Just like “Grey’s Anatomy!”
Kirk is late for his Northwestern interview, so he is running down the hall and someone mopping the floors pours down all this water and Kirk sliiiiiiiides down the entire hall and pushes the interview lady out the window! Lol. He freaks out (understandably) and she is a bit stunned, but nice, and wearing a French braid.
All of a sudden, Kirk and Dudley switch back to their original bodies! And they look all insane because they’re around people and laughing and staring at their hands and yelling. Dudley-Dudley dances with the skeleton while yelling, “I want to be a doctor!” and 7thHeavenMom is like, “?”
Kirk has a revelation and runs from the interview. Rick tries to beat him up yet again. Rick offers to fight him with both hands tied behind his back. So Kirk punches him in the face. Everyone cheers and Rick goes down as “Wild Side” by Motley Crüe starts playing.
Because it is the ‘80s, we get a high-speed car chase scene, only it’s not a chase so much as Kirk trying to rush…somewhere…as Kirk drives a terrified Sean Astin around in the Jaguar.
Oh, they’re at the the zombie video game. Kirk runs and runs through the hospital halls.
7thHeavenMom compliments Dudley’s balls.
Omg Kirk shows up at a meeting to give an impassioned plea on his dad’s behalf, saying it was Kirk’s fault that Dudley hasn’t been himself. Tinkly piano plays as Dudley overhears Kirk’s speech and gets misty.
After Kirk’s speech, Boss says, nope, chief of staff is (some other doctor) and then Kirk starts YELLING at him and everyone, going “You can’t do this!” like, way to help your dad out, kid.
Dudley comes in and gives his OWN speech, saying that he’s been an ass, and not a good friend to 7thHeavenMom, but how he’s changed and hopes to change more.
Kirk is crying.
“You can shove the chief of staff job; this is about me and my son.” More tinkly piano. Kirk is crying and they hug. Dudley says they have to go celebrate. Sean pulls out a little bottle and asks if Dudley and Kirk want it. They say no. Meanwhile, Rick is lying on a hospital bed(???) and Sean goes, “Hey Rick, I have a present for you,” and pours the liquor down Rick’s gaping jaw. BUT OMG it is actually the potion! Because he and Boss lock eyes and become each other 😮 Not sure where Boss got the potion, but whatevs.
Dudley and Kirk are outside walking and they hear screams as, presumably, Rick and Boss switch bodies. Kirk and Dudley look at each other and laugh and go to put their arms around each other and FREEZE FRAME.