Box art for Max Dugan Returns

Max Dugan Returns

comedy, drama

A Neil Simon comedy in which an ex-con tries to make up with his daughter and impress his grandson by showering them with gifts stolen from the Mob.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 10
3 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
1 out of 5
2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
3 out of 5

Comic, clever, and satisfying fairy tale of redemption.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that there is some mild swearing as the heroine reacts with frustration and anger to several vehicles being stolen from her. A short scene shows a convenience store robbery at gunpoint and the subsequent arrest of the suspect, with a brief scuffle. Finally, underneath the warm comic tone of this film, there is a weighty situation.Max Dugan has been given only a short time to live in order to redeem himself after a life as a liar, con artist, and neglectful father. He speaks of his impending death on a number of occasions, accepting his fate (if the audience is to believe him) gracefully and with humor.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the nature of the fairy tale. How does Max Dugan, the movie's "fairy godfather," make Norah's and Mike's wishes come true? What important gifts besides the fancy cars, furniture, etc., does he give them? After Max explains how he got the money, do you agree that Norah and Mike should accept his presents?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

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    reviews counted: 0
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Audience Reviews

4 stars

Charming fable. Jaon Robards is irresistible as the wandering dad.

- jjnxn, Sunday, August 24, 2008

4 stars

A real charming movie from 1983. What would you do if someone suddenly gave you everything you ever wanted. That's what happens when Nora's long estranged father Max shows up on her doorstep one rainy night carrying a satchel filled with $687,000. Max only has 6 months left to live, and wants to give Nora, a struggling schoolteacher, and her young son Michael, all the luxuries he can in the time he has left. The problem is, the money Max has, he stole from a casino he worked at in Vegas. To further complicate matters, Nora has just started dating Kevin, who is a police detective. Bestowed with amazing gifts, from new appliances, to a brand new Mercedes, to a completely refurbished house, Nora tries to hide her father's identity, and explain away her seemingly new found wealth. Jason Robards gives a poignant performance as Max, a lifelong ne'er do well, who tries to make things right with his family. Marsha Mason is charming and hilarious as the put upon Nora. Kiefer Sutherland is solid as the police detective torn between his feelings for Nora, and the nagging feeling he has that all is not as it appears with her. The movie features Matthew Broderick, in his film debut, as Nora's son Michael, a kid who hits the jackpot, and doesn't see his mother's problem with taking what Max is giving them. It's a very Frank Capra-esque fantasy, that showcases the fantasy that everyone who struggles with everyday life would feel if their ship suddenly came in. A feel good movie if there ever was one, it's also the screen debut of 24's Keifer Sutherland.

- moviefan1725, Friday, July 18, 2008

3 stars

Broderick's first film ... how lucky to work with both Jason Robards and Neil Simon. He deserved it though!

- jennalynde, Sunday, March 4, 2007