Too Young to Be a Dad (2002) (aka: A Family's Decision) Kathy Baker, Paul Dano, Katie Stuart, Bruce Davison, Terra Vnesa, Nigel Bennett, Sherry Miller, Shadia Simmons Movie Review

Too Young to Be a Dad (2002)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Paul Dano in Too Young to Be a Dad (2002) (aka: A Family's Decision)

My Son the Dad

Matt Freeman (Paul Dano - Knight and Day) is a good kid, he studies hard and unlike his rebellious older sister plays by the rules. That is until he starts tutoring Francesca Howell (Katie Stuart - Epicenter) who having lost her virginity a year earlier seduces Matt and they end up in bed. Whilst Matt decides after losing his virginity that he is not ready for that sort of relationships it proves too late as Francesca ends up pregnant. With her well to do parents wanting Francesca and Matt to agree to put the baby up for adoption as soon as it is born the decision weighs heavily on Matt as well as his parents, causing a rift between them. When Matt decides he should take responsibility for his actions and the baby he surprises everyone by his attitude.

"Too Young to Be a Dad", which is also known as "A Family's Decision", is the sort of movie which gets shown to kids at school to highlight what the outcome of sex can be. It is also the sort of movie which when shown to teenagers they might find patronising in the portrayal of teenagers and teenage issues but works for parents who will be moved by the unfolding story. It's not unusual because so many of these movies which deal with teenage issues especially those involving sex and pregnancy seem to have been written by parents and don't portray teenage issues in a realistic way.

Kathy Baker in Too Young to Be a Dad (2002) (aka: A Family's Decision)

But having said all that "Too Young to Be a Dad" is a well written movie which whilst not original does cover an interesting aspect of the teenage pregnancy situation. What it covers is responsibility and the actions of Matt as he takes it upon himself to take responsibility for what he did and the situation he has put his family in. At the same time it also covers parental responsibility when it comes to supporting and loving a child even when they make mistakes. As I said from a teenager's point of view that probably sounds quite weak but is thoughtful for adults and eye opening.

The key to why "Too Young to Be a Dad" works is partly the writing but also the acting which is sensitive and quiet but effective. A young Paul Dano delivers a touching and powerful performance as young Matt who does a lot of growing up as he takes responsibility for his actions. And then there is Kathy Baker and Bruce Davison who are effective as Matt's parents who find themselves having to alter their feelings towards the situation as not only do they see how Matt changes but also the attitudes of other parents towards them.

What this all boils down to is that "Too Young to Be a Dad" is an interesting and compassionate look at teenage pregnancies from the view point of the teenage boy deciding to take responsibility for his actions. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, for teenagers it will be corny but for adults it will be effective.