“Tom brings a real believability, yet a certain eccentricity, to the part of the father and we wanted the father to be believable, at the same time like so many parents, certainly from the kids' point of view, slightly clueless,” laughs Mark Johnson.
Cavanagh’s storyline runs parallel to his son’s in the movie. “Billy is having trouble at school…he’s intimidated by people and worried about fitting in,” explains Dolman. “When you go to Mitch's place of work, you see that Mitch is facing the same sort of situation, just on an adult level. But it has a lot of the same ingredients. He's a bit nervous, he's clumsy, he drops things because he's nervous, and he's worried about what people are thinking of him. He ends up accepting an invitation to play tennis in the same way that Billy accepts the worm bet.”
“I hope that the kids watching will see that it's not just kids who feel afraid of new situations and feel intimidated by people who are bigger than they are. Adults go through the same thing,” adds Dolman. “Kids often think their parents are fearless, but in fact, adults feel all of the things that children feel.”
Kimberly Williams-Paisley agrees, saying “it’s a great little subplot that Bob included to show that adults have the same sorts of fears that kids do. Tom's character is afraid of his new job and his coworkers because he doesn't know them. He is the new kid on the block, and his boss invites us to play tennis and not thinking, he says ‘sure, we love to play tennis.’ Of course, we don't play tennis at all. We're terrible.”
“So we get stuck on the tennis court and he is terrified, which I just think is hysterical. What winds up happening is they show up and they’re not intimidating, they're just people,” adds Williams-Paisley.
The pair had a ball shooting the tennis scene where they face off against Mitch’s boss Rob Simon and his wife Whacker on the tennis court.
“That is not a funny scene,” deadpans Tom Cavanagh. “The correct description for that scene is shameless. Over the top would fit or you could probably call it broad. Anytime someone is standing around with mats, pads, and trampolines and saying, ‘Dude, do