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Forgotten Film Synopses: Walk Like a Man

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Heya, peeps! I'll be honest, I'm still gushing with pride over the responses meeboed to me last night over my latest request edition of FFS - I've got another two orders in line already!

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But first, I'll cover more from my list, continuing now by posting the plot synopsis I had finished yesterday before fuzzy's demand, on the first day of an extra-long holiday weekend. Enjoy!



You may remember Howie Mandel not by his genie look and game show fame, but from his more notable roles in the 80's and 90's, such as in his cartoon Bobby's World, and ridiculous comedy films like this one, 1987's Walk Like a Man.

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He showed a lot of talent in those times, as character voices and as a visual comedian, and this film was one of the lost favorites I - and I'm sure you - remember as a child.




28 years ago, a gold miner and his family were up in the Pacific Northwest when a major snow storm hit. Packing up his wife and newborn son on the sled, the miner worked with his bratty elder son to get the dogs running so the family could head for decent lodgings town.

However, the elder son hopped onto the sled, pushing off the baby in an attempt to steal some warmth from his sleeping mother, and the poor child was left alone in the snow, with only the wolves for company...

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Now it's present day, and Environmentalist and Animal Behaviorist Penny Grant (Amy Steel) has arrived to see a local mountain man, Mr. Truman. In order to interview him and study the wolf packs, she shacks up at his cabin.

She's eating dinner that night when she hears a ruckus in the woods. Investigating, she comes across a wild man, knocked out from running on all fours into a fallen tree.

Mr. Truman locates an old newspaper, where he suspects the man is the lost baby from the Shand family, the same one from the mines all those years ago. Aware that the elder son had once marked the baby with a branding iron, they check the wild man's ass and confirm he is indeed the lost boy.

After the long ago tragedy, Henry Shand, the father, had come into millions thanks to discovering an unknown gold mine. However, he told the newspapers he'd give it all up to find his boy Bobby. He eventually died in those woods, on one of his many searches for "Bobo".

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We then get a rundown on the characters of the film, as Mr. Truman explains it to Penny. He loved Henry, so he's kept track of the man's family for over 15 years.

Reggie (Christopher Lloyd), the elder son, got 1/3 of the inheritance but blew it all in one year, moving with his wife back into his mother's lavish home. Just the same as when he was a kid, he's a spoiled son of a bitch that drove his wife Rhonda (Colleen Camp) to become a lush. He puts on a front by hanging out at the country club, but the guys there, including his neighbor Bud, can't stand him. And that's got to say a lot for upper class white guys.

Margaret, the Mom, has been nuts since Bobo went missing, and spends her days babying cats and donating all her money to animal shelters. Reggie tries not to rock the boat though, since it's her expensive home and money that allows him to live as a fake.

And anyway, upon the reading of Henry's will, it was stated that if Bobo never returned by his 30th birthday, his 1/3 of the inheritance would transfer to his brother Reggie. But now Bobo can come home, and Mr. Truman calls to let Reggie know Penny's bringing him over.

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And of course, he's completely unprepared for his brother's condition, pushing Penny out the door and telling her there will be no articles, notes, or books published on his family - not only is he embarrassed, but now it seems he may not be getting Bobo's part of the inheritance.

Some scheming goes on between Reggie and Rhonda, setting off a series of attempts on his part to get rid of his little brother.

First, he tries dropping him off back in the woods, but gets a flat on the ride home. Walking all the rest of the way back in a rainstorm, he reaches his front porch only to find Bobo had trailed him back to the house. He's stuck suffering a cold as a result.

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Second, he tries to drown Bobo in the tub, but Mom comes in and throws her cat into the bath, throwing Bobo into an over-exited state. He chases it through the house, knocking Reggie into the water in the process.

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Finally, Rhonda is about to give Reggie another suggestion when he finds his mother has taken Bobo to the country club, which he sees as the kiss of death.

He races down there, where Mom tells him either he introduces Bobo to his buddies or she will. You can probably guess what antics ensue, and worse, Reggie's neighbor Bud finds out that Bobo's the one who's been trampling through his newly-cemented, wet driveway several times. Bobo's arrival also isn't good for the rest of the poker buddies, who are all owed money from Reggie and know he planned on using his missing brother's share of the inheritance to pay them all back.

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As one of the guys is a lawyer, he informs Reggie that if he can find a way to get Bobo to sign over his share, the money will be his. So immediately, Reggie calls up Penny, telling her that if she can train his brother to act like a human being, she'll have exclusive rights to the story.

Penny goes to it adamantly, spending nearly every moment teaching Bobo to walk, eat, wash, sit, talk, and write. All while Mom supports their every move and Reggie looks on with contempt, periodically stopping in to ask if Bobo can write his name yet. He even tried to leave Bobo alone with a straight razor, but Penny finds him and takes the opportunity to get rid of the beard and long hair.

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Things seem to be going quite well in Bobo's development, except he doesn't catch onto social aspects and proper public behavior, seeing as how he starts howling in Church one Sunday.

Reggie and his lawyer friend try one night to get Bobo to write his name on the inheritance documents. But suddenly Bobo hears a firetruck and chases it down the street, where he ends up safe from harm after climbing to the roof of a burning building and jumping, and even manages to retrieve a lady's purse.

Reggie, in a sudden turn, is now committed to making sure his brother doesn't get hurt, since his friend tells him if Bobo dies now, all the money will be tied up in legal probate for who knows how long. Having seen Bobo on the roof, he had tried to save him, only to be blown from the building and hosed down by fireman. Once again...

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Super-pissed, Reggie and his friend try to force Bobo to sign the documents once they're settled back at home, and when he doesn't, Penny is threatened with no rights to the book if she doesn't step up the training.

Bobo then overhears Reggie and Rhonda complaining that Penny would be gone the minute he can sign his name, which keeps him from behaving during lessons. Thinking he just needs a well-earned break, Penny decides to take him to the mall for some fun and practice being around people, and more hilarity ensues.

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                                                                    "Are you a homo?!"
                                                                    "No, I'm a Bobo!!"


But the cutest and most heartwarming thing is when Bobo sees a little girl asking for a Teddy Ruxpin doll, at which point her mother tells her they can't afford one (then WHY would she be taking her 6-year-old to a toy store?). Bobo gives the display toy to her, and when the clerk tries to call security over shoplifting, Penny is only too happy to pay for it, very proud of Bobo.

She takes him for a walk in the park that afternoon, where they talk about how he's taught her more than she's taught him, and they're followed silently by a slew of dogs. It seems Penny is falling for Bobo, and gives him a kiss. Bobo literally jumps for joy, once again making a mess of neighbor Bud's newly cemented driveway.

This time, however, Bud starts smashing the Shand's windows with his golf club, yelling that he's gonna sue Reggie for $100,000. Rhonda then tells her distraught husband about an idea to have Bobo committed, thereby getting rid of him, Penny, and securing the inheritance for themselves.

All they'd have to do is invite Rhonda's father, one of the most prestigious Psychiatrists in the country, over for a formal dinner. Then they separate Penny and Bobo at the table and get him drunk, where within no time he'll start reverting back to his animalistic behavior, prompting her father to slap him with a crazy diagnosis.


Sure enough, at the party the next night, Bobo manages to pull a chair from under a female guest, fork an entire meat carcass, lap up wine from others' glasses, and growl at Rhonda's father, causing a tug of war over his chicken leg and sending him crashing into the buffet table.

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Naturally, Rhonda's dad assures Reggie he will be telling the Judge Bobo's a lunatic at his upcoming hearing, and the subsequent cheering Penny hears confirms both she and Bobo were being used all along.

She gives Reggie a letter of explanation to give to Bobo, now that she's been told her services are no longer needed - but he rips it up.


Knowing what's right is right, she busts into the hearing on that day, trying to convince the Judge about the inheritance. But Reggie's lawyer reads aloud excerpts from her notes on the training, revealing the fact she's in love with Bobo.

It's then that Bobo stands and actually acts in his own defense, and claims that if he gets his inheritance money, he wishes to give it to his family. Reggie instantly tries to rescind his former claim, and blows a gasket when Bobo clarifies that "family" meant the pack of wolves who raised him.

Realizing his mistake, Reggie grabs a rubber tog toy and starts mimicking Bobo's once wild behavior, throwing it around and gnashing it in his teeth, but his little brother doesn't fall for it.

Neither does the Judge, who dismisses the case. Penny and Bobo embrace outside the courthouse, and Bobo takes off in order to chase a passing firetruck.

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film (c) 1987 MGM Studios






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