We all know Michael Keaton for his roles as Batman, Beetlejuice and even more recently in his portrayal of the villainous Vulture in Spider-man Homecoming, but before all of that he was just a father trying to learn to be a stay at home dad in a feature film.
Today’s Key Movie:
Keaton plays opposite of Teri Garr as Jack Butler, a man who, after being laid off, agrees to reverse roles with his wife and care for his three children at home. The thing is, he has no clue how to do it.
Starring Michael Keaton, Teri Garr, Christopher Lloyd, and Jeffery Tambor this the classic comedy Mr. Mom.
Why this movie?
In the 80’s Michael Keaton was one of the best, his comic routines and television appearances had become legendary. Fresh off his stint in the film Night Shift, it was clear that this man could do no wrong.
I know we didn’t go to the theater to see this one but I know it was a rental for sure. My parents were always looking for a fun film for us all to watch as a family and what a better choice than a family comedy starring one of our favorite comic personalities?
Later down the road, I ended up getting a dvd copy of this one free from Pizza Hut as part of a promo. Remembering it from my childhood I grabbed the free copy and it has been in my collection ever since. Needless to say, it was everything I remembered it was and man it was fun. To me, this is one of my guilty pleasures and honestly, I am not afraid to admit it.
You like it, but is it really a ‘good’ movie?
The idea behind this is that guys know nothing about housework or taking care of a family and boy is this one filled with every cliche known. In many ways this is one that is very dated and somewhat sexist in it’s views of the male/female dynamic in the home especially in the modern world. However, when you dig deeper you realize that it is a little ahead of it’s time.
While this sort of ‘fish out of water’ setup was common in sitcoms at the time, it was not very common to have this sort of story in a feature films. Keaton and Garr do a terrific job navigating through the stereotypical role swap story with a natural ease. I do find it interesting that Keaton’s character, Jack, has apparently never done an ounce of housework in his life, but the mishaps he gets in are nothing short of classic. Once we get past the ‘man failing at cleaning’ scenarios, we get to the meat of the story where it dives into the relationship dynamic between Jack and his wife Caroline. Jack finds that his time at home is pretty fulfilling while Caroline finds success in her new career. Things, of course, get turned around but what do you expect from an 80’s family comedy?
During this segment, the film goes through the typical relationship arc most of these kinds of movies follow never missing a cliched beat while still maintaining steady pacing and a solid cast. Like most ‘feel good films’, everything works out in the end, with Keaton getting his job back and his wife returning home, but this really gives the characters a sense of appreciation for one another once everything is said and done.
Overall, even though the premise is somewhat dated in the modern world, there is humor to be found in ignorance and this film really banks on the idea that men are ignorant concerning just about everything in the home. I should be offended by this but honestly, I still find it funny to this day. We men can be pretty dumb at times and by embracing the fact that we have different ideas of how things are done, we can learn to grow as people. Interestingly, we actually see some personal growth for Jack, Caroline and their family during the course of the film making it less about the pitfalls and more about the successes they share. It’s certainly not the best film ever made but there are far worse from the early 80’s.
OK, where do I get this movie?
At the time of this writing you can find this one on Netflix and, if you happen to find a copy fairly cheap, I would give it a go. It’s not a bad film and If you want a good look into the world of the early 80’s and a campy look into Keaton’s early work, this is worth your time. Now if I could just find a copy of Multiplicity…
Late To The Game 7/11/2019
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
For more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here. and, If you dig Music, I have a semi regular series called Stand Out Albums that covers some of my favorite records I have come across in life.
As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!