Carpool (1996) starring Tom Arnold, David Paymer, Rhea Perlman, Rod Steiger, Kim Coates, Rachael Leigh Cook, Mikey Kovar, Micah Gardener directed by Arthur Hiller Movie Review

Carpool (1996)   2/52/52/52/52/5

David Paymer and Tom Arnold in Carpool (1996)

Long Car Chase = Monotony

"Carpool" is a movie which very clearly proves something; Tom Arnold whilst funny is too much when one scene after another is full of just his energy and enthusiasm. Arnold is not the only problem because even taking into account we are in children's movie territory some of the humour falls completely flat especially when it is built around what could quite possibly be the longest car chase in movie history. But "Carpool" isn't terrible it just needed variety and someone strong enough to counter balance Arnold's comic enthusiasm which sadly David Paymer was not that guy.

Daniel Miller (David Paymer - The American President) has a big day in the office with an advertising campaign to pitch so when his wife says she is ill and he will have to do the school run he isn't too happy especially when he has to pick up other children as well. But having a car full of annoying children is just the start of his problems as having stopped to get food he finds himself in the midst of an armed robbery and then the armed robbers gets robbed by desperate carnival owner Franklin Laszlo (Tom Arnold - Nine Months) who forces Daniel to go with him and they use his car full of kids to escape leading to police and a meter maid chasing after them. Whilst Daniel only cares about getting to his presentation he is shocked when the kids warm to their kidnapper, the fun loving Franklin as they have one escapade after another.

Micah Gardener and Rachael Leigh Cook in Carpool (1996)

Taking "Carpool" down to basics we have the comedy of a very long car chase which includes being chased in their car around the mall by a meter maid and a cop. We also have the familiar storyline of a workaholic father who having put career over family gets a wake up call. And then whilst we have David Paymer, Rhea Perlman and Kim Coates we have Tom Arnold as the enthusiastic driving force behind the majority of the humour. These three things combined means that "Carpool" is familiar with the father storyline, is monotonous because most of the movie is an accident filled car chase and doubly monotonous because too much Tom Arnold is simply too much.

Now "Carpool" is a children's movie and it is full of some simple gags from spraying the car a different colour with hair dye to Franklin having a waxed strip pulled from his arm. There is some body noise gags with at least one fart scene and also a toilet scene which in fairness young minds will enjoy but it is a case that these gags have pretty much all been done before. And as already mentioned Tom Arnold is the driving force of most of these gags and this is a movie which ends up desperate for another strong actor to balance it out so it doesn't become an over enthusiastic onslaught. That doesn't mean that David Paymer does a bad job, in fact he is well cast as the harassed father but when you have Arnold turned up to the max he can't compete.

Aside from Arnold and Paymer there is also Rhea Perlman and Kim Coates who to be honest play even more annoying characters than Franklin ends up and whilst a cameo from Rod Steiger shows nothing of what a great actor he was at least he is amusing. In truth "Carpool" ends up more entertaining and to be honest memorable for a teenage Rachael Leigh Cook and the way she is dressed which really says little for the movie.

What this all boils down to is that "Carpool" isn't a terrible movie, it certainly has some good laughs, but it becomes monotonous with it becoming one long car chase and one long onslaught from Tom Arnold who really needed someone to share the burden of the jokes.