Why in the hell did I watch this on a Saturday night?

OK, I am thinking a little explanation is in order, both for the selection of film and for my prolonged absence. For the latter, I got married last week. Huzzah for me. I will put some more information on that in a blog post, not here. As for the former the hell if I know.

Clifford is a 1994 Martin Short vehicle thinly veiled as a light/dark comedy. It was directed by...holy shit Paul Flaherty, the brother of the guy from Maniac Mansion (and to a lesser extent some little show called SCTV...) Mary Steenburgen and Charles Grodin round out a pretty stong cast.

At this point I have a small observation. I cannot explain Charles Grodin. Not even a little bit. He was really, really popular in family films in the 90's, but really couldn't act. I'm serious, go and watch any movie he is in, all he does is yell. He yells lines that should be quiet and he yells lines that should be yelled. I am surprised he doesn't yell the stage directions. Man likes to raise his voice. I'm not saying he doesn't make for a good grumpy dad figure, as it is possible to see under all the yells a nice, loving father who will let you have that dog even though he knows full well that he is too big and too slobbery for you to effectively take care of, simply because he wants to see your weird, ugly little kid faces light up with glee. But he will yell that happiness is what I am trying to say, I guess.

"Turn to dog!! I'm sure my family will love you!! Maybe I can buy you some Milk Bones and take you for a nice walk!! End scene!!"

As for the movie, it is pretty standard 90's family movie fare. Gharles Grodin has a nice life, which he yells about for a while, then some outside force comes and shakes it too its core. This is what we in the business call "conflict". After a while Grodin looks disheveled and almost looses everything, and then something really big happens. This is the "climax". And in the end Grodin begrudgingly accepts whatever it is that upset his life and is happy again. This is every family film in the 90's. Every one.

In Clifford that outside force is played by Martin Short, in the guise of a 10 year old boy named Densel. Or Clifford. Probably Clifford, but I can't be for positives. Short hams it up as only he (and possibly Dana Carvy) can chewing the scenery into a thick, sticky paste and using it to build what e in the business like to call a "larval sac"

Soon hundreds of little Martin Shorts will hatch and are already in your hair right now!!

Anywho, Cliford wants to go to see an amusement park, Grodin wont take him, Clifford does horrible things, jokes are almost told, moments are had and it all culminates in Grodin (who ar this point I am thinking of as some sort of Elder God creature known only as Grodin) has his model of a transit system blown up by Clifford and TOTALLY loses his fucking shit (which made me wonder why he got so crazy, I mean its a model, he could redo the work,  just tell the boss that there was a gas leak of something...damnit Grodin YELL YOUR WAY TO YOUR DREAMS!!). Grodin then kidnaps Clifford, adventures are had, lessons learned and and old looking Martin Short teaches a lesson to a young Cory Boymeetsworld.

Clifford is a confusing movie for me, I truly did not like it, but I can't find any real faults. It isn't poorly made, the acting is standard for the genre, and Martin Short is actually pretty enjoyable. The problem, I think, is that the film doesn't know what it wants to be, light or dark. I could see brief moments where the film wanted to be a light hearted family film, and moments where it wanted to de Throw Mama From the Train. Pick a side, or the whole film suffers. In fact, give this project to Danny DeVeto and I bet people would still remember it today. As it stands however it is just forgettable.

Grade: C

"I accept your criticism!! This was not my best work!!"

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