Tony Bill's My Bodguard marks his directorial debut. The story is set in Chicago where Clifford (Chris Makepeace) moves from a private school to a public one. He's a scrawny, self-sufficient, and imaginative kid whose father (Martin Mull) is manager of a hotel. Clifford runs into trouble when he badmouths Moody (Matt Dillon), the school's troublemaker. Things get worse when he refuses to give his lunch money to Moody and his band of misfits.
We all have had some experience with bullies in our youth. This film speaks in a visceral way to that memory and other pains of growing up. Clifford's resourcefulness comes to the fore when he convinces Linderman (Adam Baldwin), a sullen and king-sized outcast, to serve as his bodyguard. Their Mutt and Jeff relationship starts off slow but blooms as each revels in the other's acceptance. Clifford introduces Linderman to his kooky grandmother (Ruth Gordon) and his apartment tower; Linderman takes Clifford along to look for a motorcycle part and eventually reveals a secret concerning the death of his little brother. The friendship opens up new avenues of self-esteem for these lonely boys.
Tony Bill has drawn out affecting performances from Chris Makepeace, Adam Baldwin, and Matt Dillon. When Moody escalates the pressure on Clifford by hiring his own muscular bodyguard, a physical confrontation between the four is inevitable. Whereas some adults may wonder whether it is appropriate to portray youth settling scores through fists, this kind of thing does go on in many schools and will continue as long as social status is measured by brawn and bravado. And the point of the story rings clear and true stands must be taken to prove one's worth throughout adolescence. And, if you can make that stand with a friend at your side, you've prove your mettle twofold.