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Film / My Father the Hero

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My Father the Hero, the 1994 American remake of the 1991 French film Mon père, ce héros, is a romantic comedy directed by Steve Miner and starring Gérard Depardieu (who already played the main protagonist of Mon père, ce héros).

Andre (Depardieu), a divorced Frenchman, takes his estranged daughter Nicole (Katherine Heigl, in her first starring role) on vacation in the Caribbean. Nicole wants little to do with her father because she feels he abandoned her. While on vacation Nicole meets Ben (Dalton James), a local, and falls in love. Wanting to appear more worldly and grown up, she tells Ben that Andre is not her father, but her lover. Hilarity Ensues.

This film exhibits the following tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: Andre hides out of sight and gives love advice to Niki, who is talking to Ben. Gérard Depardieu starred in the title role in the 1990 version of Cyrano de Bergerac.
    • Said to be his best film, Depardieu won the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival and the Cesar Awards (France's Oscars). He also was nominated for an Best Actor Oscar, one of only six at the time for a non-English speaking role.
  • Anti-Villain: Ben. He comes between Andre and Niki, but only because he thinks Andre is molesting her.
  • Artistic License – History: One of Nicole's lies has Andre contracting a rare illness in Africa during the Hundred Years War. Andre then points out that the Hundred Years War was fought in the Middle Ages in Europe.
  • Barely-There Swimwear: Katherine Heigl, at age 15 no less, wears a one piece suit with a thong bottom. Her father, seeing it for the first time, flips out. This then leads to...
    • Digital Bikini: Network TV usually airs a version with panels added. This makes his flip out rather nonsensical.
  • Berserk Button: When people at the resort ask if Andre has a daughter.
    • And when Niki tells him what she told others.
  • Big "NO!": David frequently says "I'll come with you" to Andre. On one occasion, Andre says a very firm "Non!"
  • Bilingual Bonus: Hardly a surprise given that Depardieu is French and plays a French national.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Even before the truth is revealed, Andre manages to turn around some people's minds with his charm.
  • Disappeared Dad: Andre has been living in France for five years while Nicole lives in New York. He hadn't seen her for almost two years.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Andre does his best to win back his daughter's affection, even briefly going along with her outrageous lie.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Heigl's character is named Nicole, but prefers to be called Niki.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier if French: Andre. The other adults at the resort think his accent must be how he got together with Niki.
    • Partially parodied in that initially, one patron doubts his Frenchiness because he's too fat. All Frenchies must be as sexy as Catherine Deneuve according to her.
  • "Fawlty Towers" Plot: Niki tells one lie after another, saying it makes life more interesting. She lies that she is eighteen instead of fourteen; that Andre is her lover, rather than her father (and she calls him Andre); and word quickly spreads. When Ben tells her to leave him, she says that she can't, because Andre is dying of a rare incurable disease. Finally, the lies come crashing down when Andre is danger of drowning, and Niki yells "Daddy!" in front of Ben.
  • Foreign Remake: Of French film "Mon père, ce héros," also starring Gerard Depardieu.
  • La Résistance: Subverted. Andre tells Ben stories about how he fought to free countries to keep up with Niki's lies. Parodied in her initial lie that he was dying of a disease caught in Africa during the Hundred Years War.
    • Exasperating Andre as he is well that that war was fought between England and France in the 14th and 15th Centuries.
  • Large Ham: Not surprisingly, Gerard Depardieu.
  • Lovable Nerd: David, the economics-loving New Yorker Andre introduces Nicole to. He ends up bonding more with Andre talking about the early European Union as Nicole obviously shows no interest in him. He finds love at the end of the movie with an equally nerdy girl.
  • Love Triangle: Niki falls in love with Ben. Unfortunately, she has already told him that Andre, her father, is actually her lover. After initial rage, Ben develops respect and a man crush on Andre, thanks to his lies told to sink Niki in deeper.
  • Lying Finger Cross: Niki does one when Ben makes her promise never to lie to him again.
  • Marilyn Maneuver: Some wind comes along and blows up Nicole's skirt while she kisses Ben towards the end.
  • Meaningful Name: In the original French film, the girl's name is Véro, meaning "truth".
  • Parental Incest: Subverted in a very strange fashion, in that everyone believes that this is what is happening.
  • Playing Cyrano: Andre does this for Nicole and Ben. It's a bit of Actor Allusion, as Depardieu's most celebrated role was Cyrano De Bergerac.
  • Refuge in Audacity: In universe. After Niki tells Andre about her lie, he starts doing everything he can to impress Ben just to mock her.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Diana. She crushes on Andre after being introduced by Niki. She continues flirting until she meets a rich Italian man on the beach, the exact kind she was told she'd meet by her psychic.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Subverted. One of the nerdy adults at the resort says Andre can't be French because he's not sexy like Catherine Deneuve.