The old adage that warns actors about appearing with children or dogs is especially applicable to The Courtship of Eddie's Father. Ron Howard manages to steal just about every scene he's in from the cast of talented adults. Managing to be adorable without being cloying, smart-mouthed without being irritating, Howard makes Eddie the kind of kid that unfortunately seems to exist only in movies. The rest of the cast has to struggle a bit to make as good an impression, largely because they're working from a script that, while certainly workable, is largely uninspired. Still, there's enough there for Glenn Ford to latch onto and run with, allowing him to show off both his warm and chilly sides, and Shirley Jones gets to do her tough-and-tender routine, which she does with aplomb. There's appropriate support from Dina Merrill, Stella Stevens, and Jerry Van Dyke, and Vincente Minnelli has directed efficiently and professionally, although he at times seems more interested in his careful balance and modulation of color in every scene than in slightly tougher things (such as blending the film's dramatic and comedic moments). Still, that attention to visual detail pays off; few films that are basically nothing more than extended sitcoms ever look so good. While not a classic, Courtship nevertheless is a reasonably entertaining little picture.
by Craig Butler review