A quiet school truant officer, Joe, uncovers a young boy’s attempt to fake a residential address, and subsequently gets involved romantically with the boy’s mother. The truant officer waffles between a sadistic relationship with his on-again, off-again girlfriend and the mother. When one of the officer’s inventions takes off, he chooses the girl and shatters the friendship with the boy and his mother. Only at the last possible moment does he figure out what he’s sacrificed, and attempts to get it back.
The Buddy System is a 1984 American romantic comedy film starring Richard Dreyfuss, Susan Sarandon, Nancy Allen, Wil Wheaton and Jean Stapleton. The film was directed by Glenn A. Jordan who is better known for directing and producing numerous television films and television dramas. The film follows the story of a cautious single mother who forms an unlikely friendship with her son’s school security guard. The Buddy System was Wil Wheaton’s first major film role and his second non-television role after the 1983 film Hambone and Hillie.
About the Story
Emily Price is a single mother: she got pregnant in high school and was abandoned by the father before her son, Tim, was born. She and Tim live with her mother, who is both protective and disparaging, and tends to overlook her daughter in favor of her grandson. She is trying to become a court reporter, but freezes up every time she takes the test.
Joe comes into their lives when he is sent out to do a residency check by the school: Emily and Tim have been lying about where they live so he can go to a better school. The price for Tim is loneliness: he can’t tell anyone where he lives. Joe, who is an aspiring novelist and an inventor of gadgets, decides not to report them and strikes up an unlikely friendship with Tim that gradually escalates to include Emily as well. Previous romantic entanglements – for Emily, the withholding Jim; for Joe, the beautiful but self-absorbed Carrie – intervene while Emily gains courage and independence and Joe comes to understand where his real talents lie.
The Buddy System (1984)
Directed by: Glenn Jordan
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Susan Sarandon, Nancy Allen, Jean Stapleton, Wil Wheaton, Edward Winter, Keene Curtis, Carolyn Coates
Screenplay by: Mary Agnes Donoghue
Production Design by: Rodger Maus
Cinematography by: Matthew F. Leonetti
Film Editing by: Arthur Schmidt
Costume Design by: Joseph G. Aulisi
Set Decoration by: Robert Checchi
Music by: Patrick Williams
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: January 20, 1984