51 user 5 critic

Doing Time on Maple Drive (1992)

Absent father, alcoholic brother Tim try to cope with life.


Ken Olin


James Duff
Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Sikking ... Phil Carter (as James B. Sikking)
Bibi Besch ... Lisa Carter
William McNamara ... Matt Carter
Jayne Brook ... Karen
David Byron David Byron ... Tom
Lori Loughlin ... Allison
Jim Carrey ... Tim Carter
Philip Linton Philip Linton ... Andy
Bennett Cale Bennett Cale ... Kyle
Richard Israel Richard Israel ... Student Actor
Mark Chaet ... Nick
Janice Lynde ... Judy
George Roth George Roth ... Dr. Norman
Parker Whitman Parker Whitman ... Gene
Danielle Michonne Danielle Michonne ... Cindy


A young college student returns from Yale to introduce his fiancée to his family. While there, the relationships between the various family members are tested, and the secrets hidden behind the seemingly "perfect family" front are brought to light. Written by Caleb Spring <crs2481@acs.tamu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

16 March 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Faces in the Mirror See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

FNM Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Features an early, dramatic role by Jim Carrey. See more »


Lisa Carter: [sniff] I don't, um, I don't understand how anyone could choose to be like this... I'm just... it is not to be understood.
Matt Carter: I didn't choose this. I am this. Mom, I didn't choose to be gay. Do you think I'd choose to be this different from everyone else? That I'd choose to make you and Dad this upset? That I'd choose to lose someone as beautiful and wonderful as Allison? And what about AIDS? I mean, suppose someone wanted to be gay, would they want to be gay now?
Lisa Carter: I don't know. And I don't want to ...
See more »


References Rocky IV (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

Wonderful Family Values
14 October 2008 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

At first, the characters in this family melodrama all seem so ordinary and well adjusted. The dad (James Sikking) is financially successful, competitive, and something of a perfectionist. Mom (Bibi Besch) is motherly and traditional. One son is getting married. The other son has just a slight fondness for alcohol. And the daughter and her husband have returned for a pleasant visit, and to attend the family wedding. Our ideal family lives in a two-story house with manicured lawn on Maple Drive. As in the 1950's sitcom "Leave It To Beaver", all is peaches and cream, comfy and cozy, a household that is the very archetype of American family values.

But viewers are alerted to the shallowness of this overall image when the story's POV character tells another character: "See, he just has to be perfect. And if he isn't perfect, just keep it to yourself because I don't think anybody in this family wants to know". As secrets and anger surface, verbal conflict builds. And by the film's end, all these people are revealed to be complex, flawed, vulnerable, and hurting.

"Doing Time On Maple Drive" gets off to a slow start. I think the script setup might be a tad too long. And the writers could have been a little clearer about who is related to whom. Other than that, the script is well written and highly thematic. With rich characterization, the story conveys a realistic view of contemporary America, with its penchant for shallow idealism that overlays deep social and psychological turmoil. Although the dialogue seems a bit dated, it nevertheless has some good subtext.

Overall acting is quite impressive. I couldn't find any weak performances. It's nice to see Jim Carrey play a serious role; I wish he would do more drama. The film's color cinematography is adequate.

I have two complaints. First, the score consists of dreary, nondescript elevator music; second, sets seem cheap. However, this is after all a made-for-TV movie; visual breaks show where the commercials were inserted. And I can imagine that the budget here was fairly low.

But the film's strength is its script. "Doing Time On Maple Drive" is a poignant story that has genuine thematic depth. For what director Ken Olin set out to do, I think he succeeded quite well. Although there have been more recent films dealing with the same general topic, the high quality of this film makes it worth watching.

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