You could argue that the big screen is full of unrealistic tropes about fatherhood: dads who sullenly sip martinis. Dads who can't change a diaper. Dads who are strong and silent yet filled with oceans of salty wisdom.
Then there are the really unrealistic dads. The ones who turn into animals, summon the dead, and sprout babies from abs of steel. In honor of Father’s Day this weekend, we reality-checked a few implausible movie papas, then ranked them here in ascending order of dubiousness.
Improbable: A distracted father becomes an attentive family pet
Tim Allen as Dave Douglas in “The Shaggy Dog”
OK, so science hasn't exactly caught up with the premise of this 2006 flick. (Nobel Prize goes to the first researcher who can isolate a mutant canine gene that "infects" humans with the physical qualities of a dog while deepening their appreciation of family!) But as odd as it is to watch Tim Allen morph into a bearded collie, much of his dog behavior seems … kinda normal, actually. Chowing cereal without a spoon and getting distracted by cats is what 93 percent of Internet users are doing right this second.
Questionable: A divorced father disguises himself in elaborate drag
Robin Williams as Daniel Hilliard in “Mrs. Doubtfire”
It’s credible that a single dad would go to extraordinary lengths to stay close with his kids and illegally gain access to the home and confidences of his ex-wife. (Such was the norm before Facebook.) But on a scale of 1 to RuPaul, Mrs. D’s style regimen seriously strains belief. There’s no way someone cooking, cleaning, and caring for three high-energy children would have time to fuss with wigs, facial prosthetics, hosiery, lipstick, pearl earrings and curve-enhancing shapewear. Guess we have Robin Williams to thank for society’s ridiculous beauty standards.
Debatable: A future father engages in a high-school hookup masterminded by his time-traveling son
Crispin Glover as George McFly, and Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, in “Back to the Future”
Poor Marty, born into a family of chumps: Dad George is an absentminded fool. Mom Lorraine is a heavy day drinker. Marty’s older siblings are low-achieving moochers. “We all make mistakes in life, children,” Lorraine says, glaring pointedly at George. Yet when Marty travels back in time to 1955, he blows his chance to undo the damage and works to ensure his sad-sack mom and dad hook up. Please. Most teens would rather get erased from existence than think about their parents procreating. And in real life, George would've spiked Marty's plan. Nothing kills the mood faster than having your kid around (whether or not you know he’s yours).
Unbelievable: A man gives birth following an unusually difficult pregnancy
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dr. Alex Hesse in “Junior”
That’s right, folks: Here we have Arnold Schwarzenegger as a scientist who gets knocked up when a fertility-drug experiment goes awry. We’re then treated to the Terminator’s gripes about his sore nipples, intense morning sickness, and ladylike rollercoaster emotions. Even if we could suspend disbelief and roll with this plot (which, no), we’re pretty sure Schwarzenegger is overstating the hardship: Unlike his boulder biceps or softball-size calves, a baby in utero would develop with no special exertions, making Schwarzenegger’s pregnant belly by far his lowest-maintenance bulge. Pop some folic acid and spare us the drama, Mr. Mama.
Ridonkulous: A dad conjures his dead father, then coolly plays ball with him
Kevin Costner as Ray Kinsella, and Dwier Brown as John Kinsella, in “Field of Dreams”
He built it, they came, and then he was like, "Meh." After farmer Ray drives his family to the brink of bankruptcy with a quixotic cornfield baseball diamond, dad John returns from the dead to vindicate his son with a touching reunion and final game of catch. “Is this heaven?” John asks. “No, it’s Iowa,” Ray replies. It’s actually just crazy that NO ONE IN THIS SCENE IS WEEPING. Not Ray. Not John. Not Ray’s wife and daughter, giggling with bone-dry eyes on the farmhouse porch in the sepia sunset. In this field of dreams, any normal person would be a puddle of tears. These people are monsters.