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October 30, 2009
Review - " The Stepfather "  -  (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Amber Heard in the pool in The Stepfather
Amber Heard in blue polka dot bikini from The Stepfather
Amber Heard getting out of the pool  in red polka dot bikini from The Stepfather
Amber Heard shows off her black polka dot bikini from  The Stepfather
Amber Heard lounges  in a black polka dot bikini from The Stepfather
Dylan Walsh in The Stepfather
The Stepfather
Directed by: Nelson McCormick
Starring: Dylan Walsh, Sela Ward, Penn Badgely, Amber Heard, &  
a stellar cast of string bikinis

Director Nelson McCormick's The Stepfather is a serviceable remake
of the 1987 thriller about a would-be family man whose dreams are
repeatedly crushed by willful women and wayward children who just
won't act right.

Carefully scrubbed of all but the most sanitized violence in the name
of securing a PG-13 rating, the movie begins as Grady Edwards
(Dylan Walsh) meticulously alters his appearance before gathering
his luggage and leaving the suburban Salt Lake City home where a
woman and three children lie dead among the festive Christmas
decorations and never-to-be unwrapped packages.

Six months later, "Dan Martin" bumps into recently divorced Susan
Harding (Sela Ward) and in a Portland Oregon supermarket, and
charms her common sense off with his sad tale of having lost his
beloved wife and daughter to a drunk driver. They're engaged in no
time flat, and everything's perfect. What could possibly go wrong?

The answer is Michael (Penn Badgely) - Susan has a third child, a
resentful, hot-tempered teen who's been cooling his heels in military
school. Now that he's home for the summer, Michael is slow to warm to
his replacement dad, despite Dan's carefully calculated overtures.
Even Kelly (Amber Heard), Michael's sensible, longtime girlfriend,
can't convince him that Dan's OK, especially as scraps of
circumstantial evidence begin to pile up: A slip of the tongue here, a nosy neighbor's suspicions there, a mysterious set of
locked storage cabinets in the basement. How long will it be before Michael's sullenness sets off his stepfather's murderous

Let's leave aside the fact that "The Stepfather" didn't need remaking, because the original version is as quietly chilling as
it was nearly more than 20 years ago. The trouble with the new Stepfather is that it's astonishingly dull. I mean, once you've
seen a guy who's slaughtered his whole family enjoy a cup of coffee, some toast and a bit of Christmas music in plain sight of
their battered corpses, you don't need an interminable scene in which local cops discuss their suspicions to fear for the

The performances are generally strong - Walsh in particular nails both the veneer of affability and the controlling anger
beneath the killer's façade - but the characters
are useless, required to do so many oblivious
(OK, moronic) things that it's hard not to
start thinking they deserve to be taken out of
the gene pool. And not to sound like the
pop-culture prude, but if you're sufficiently
concerned with the tender sensibilities of
young teens to soft-pedal murder scenes in
a movie about an exceptionally vicious
murderer, you might want to ease up on the
shots of high-school junior Kelly's itty-bitty
bikini-clad body, especially since Kelly is
supposedly all about intelligence, academic
ambition and good sense. OK, Maybe not
since Kelly's perfect body being shown off in
at least six different teenie bikinis is the main
thrill this movie provides. Still "The Stepfather"
is worth checking out but perhaps wait until
the DVD release.