You get a bargain two high-concepts for the price of one in this amiably lame offering from Stephen Herek, who, once upon a time, cooked up an excellent Adventure for Bill and Ted, then veered off into inspirational goo with Mr. Holland’s Opus. Alas, this family-redemption drama crossed with a runaway-bus teen-action comedy, based on a tepid script by playwright S.J. Roth, makes a beeline for pap and sticks there. Paul “Triple H” Levesque, a muscled slab of meat lightly touched with Schwarzeneggerian charm, plays Ray, an ex-con who emerges from jail fortified with psychobabble and resolved to make amends with the ex-wife (Annabeth Gish) and daughter (Ariel Winter) he abandoned years earlier. Literally dumping the keys to recidivism, Ray hauls his noble intentions and the usual bag full of illicit cash onto the bus carrying his daughter’s class to the New Orleans Museum of Art, with a sorely misused Kevin Corrigan as the hoodlum in hot pursuit. As a caper, The Chaperone grinds its gears horribly right up to the inevitable rescue by geeky kids armed with tech-toys. Father-daughter bonding proceeds on dreary schedule, but it might be worth hanging in there just for the pugnacious brio of Modern Family’s Winter as the angry offspring.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 16, 2011