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By Phil Hall | June 14, 2005

“Home Made Dad” is the latest film from the indefatigable Jimmy Traynor, the Baltimore director/producer/writer/actor/editor/composer. Created with his reel-life and now real-life partner, Peechee Neric, this short film is among the finest of his 100+ canon.

“Home Made Dad” is the tale of a single father whose absence from home is having a negative effect on his young children (the siblings Alex, Nechole and Brenton Pak, who starred in Traynor’s earlier “Bear Movement”). Missing their father terribly and bored with their lazy babysitter (Neric, in an amusing cameo), the youngsters take an ingenious approach to the problem of an absentee parent. “Why can’t we make one?” asks a member of the trio, who rather quickly invents a surrogate father in the form of a shiny silvery robot.

The robot, with its square head and bulky nuts-and-bolts body, looks like one of the contraptions that bedeviled Flash Gordon in yesteryear’s serials. But to the kids, he is the perfect substitute. Except when the machinery malfunctions and the good-natured robotic dad turns into a metallic marauder.

The Pak siblings are natural and charming on camera, whether handling the basic absurdity of the situation with genuine child-like nonchalance (doesn’t every kid build robots?) or trying to take down the out-of-control robot (one kid goes into a Schwarzenegger-worthy attack mode, complete with leonine roar, only to be swatted like a badminton birdie).

As the father, Mario A. Salvador Jr. has a wonderful (if belated) epiphany about the value of family. While the father remains oblivious to his robotic replacement, he recalls his priorities in time for the closing credits – and what more can anyone ask from this sincere and sweet little movie?

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