Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mr. Mom (1983)

Silly, inconsequential family situation comedy, enlivened only by the strong performance of Michael Keaton in one of his early star turns as the dad who has to take on his wife's responsibilities around the house (with the expected comic ineptitude) when he gets laid off and she gets a job. The screenplay by John Hughes, one of his earliest, is entirely predictable and really quite uninspired stuff. It's certainly one of his least personal projects, feeling instead like a TV sitcom written on autopilot, and surprisingly lacking in the kind of wild slapstick and weird, offbeat supporting characters that show up frequently in Hughes' work and could have added some much-needed reinforcement to the proceedings here.

Teri Garr isn't given much to do with her role, and even the fine supporting players such as Martin Mull (as Garr's sleazy boss), Jeffrey Tambor (as Keaton's sleazy boss) and Christopher Lloyd (as one of Keaton's fellow engineers), are never really on-screen long enough to make much of their scenes. Only Ann Jillian, as the sexy neighbor intent on seducing Keaton while his wife's away, manages to rise above the material. Michael Keaton's performance demonstrates the kind of offbeat comic energy that made him such a unique and interesting actor, but his talent would be better-served in later vehicles. As it is, there's not much in it for adults, and the humor is really aimed primarily at kids, which is probably why the film seems to be most fondly remembered by people who saw it during their own childhood.

No comments: