by Rob DiCristino
Parenting is really, really difficult. You never know if you’re doing it right (For all the “manuals” available out there, not a single one of them has all the answers) and it’s hard not to feel like you’re always falling short. You want your kids to have everything, of course, and you want to be the one to give it to them. But, really, what the hell do you know? You’re a person just like the rest of us, and your parents probably messed you up good and proper way back when. Do you remember the first time you realized your parents were human beings, the first time they let you down or revealed something about themselves you didn’t think could possibly be true? Sure you do. It’s a wake-up call. An existential slap in your metaphysical face. It’s a rite of passage, the first mile marker along an ever-widening highway into chaotic oblivion. Shit. This got dark. Let me start over: Being Frank (originally titled You Can Choose Your Family) is a comedy about a dad who lies to his son. A lot.
But when Phillip and Lewis sneak up to a lakeside paradise for spring break, the distance between father and son is closed pretty quickly. Frank — supposedly away — is there, too. With a young woman (Isabelle Phillips as Kelly). And a young man (Gage Polchlopek as Eddie). And a woman his own age (Samantha Mathis as Bonnie). No, it’s not weird sex stuff. It’s Frank’s other family, an entire life that he’s kept hidden for almost twenty years. Phillip is heartbroken, of course, but he immediately sees an opportunity to get back at his father. Posing as the son of Frank’s colleague, he digs into Family #2 like a tick, bro-ing down with Eddie and working up uncomfortable sexual tension with Kelly. It’s actually kind of disgusting how much Phillip seems to enjoy poisoning his father’s life, but how else can he cope with the horror of Frank’s transgressions? However, when Frank offers a sad story about lost love, wasted potential, and poorly-timed pregnancies, Phillip resolves to help keep his father’s secret as his mother and sister unexpectedly arrive on the scene.