There’s an innocent yet touching charm to “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” that really made it infectious and fun from start to finish, mostly powered by the relationship between its likable yet traumatized father and son (Glenn Ford and little Ron Howard). The joy they go through feels honest, while their conversations about life and dealing with death feel down to earth, all while they both deal with the lose of the person they cared about the most in the world. It never comes off as preachy or heavy-handed, finding the right balance between drama and comedy to make it heartfelt.
Glenn Ford plays Tom Corbett, who recently lost his wife, leaving him to raise their son Eddie (Ron Howard) alone in New York City. After the two take some time to adjust to their new lives without a wife and mother, Eddie decides that the only way they’ll both be happy again is if they find another woman who can be both. Thus, Eddie decides to play matchmaker and find his father a new wife, whether he’s ready for another relationship or not.
Ford plays the role of single father with dignity, strength and compassion, all while trying to keep up with Eddie’s shenanigans. He is selfless in his pursuit to give Eddie the best life he can without his mother, despite both of them still being in a lot of pain over her lose. Little Ron Howard, yes the same Ron Howard that would directed “Apollo 13” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” has far more class and charm than you would ever expect from a child actor, even out-acting Glenn Ford in some scenes about handling his mother’s death. Together, they create a touching and inquisitive relationship that serves as the backbone of this movie, helping to keep everything in perspective.
Yet the film is as funny as it is charming, as Eddie over does it on the matchmaking and ends up finding multiple women who would all desire to be with his father. Eddie’s innocence plays a key factor into all of this, taking a lot of what his father says to heart and dumping it onto these women in the classic child manner. Roberta Sherwood plays their live-in maid, who serves as the voice of reason as their lives get more and more chaotic and filled with women, all while she learns Spanish over a record. The standout amongst the many women is Stella Stevens as a would-be Miss America contestant afraid of socializing and embarrassing herself, who is surprisingly intelligent and sophisticated while taking everything in stride.
Overall, “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” perfectly balances the tragedy of losing a family member and the comedy of trying to find a quick replacement. It’s built upon the relationship between it’s two leads and how much they really care for one another, without sacrificing anything for laughs. Every performance is stellar, especially from the leads, and the film always feels honest and heartfelt. It’ll have you smiling throughout, just like it did with me.
Final Grade: A-