Friday, February 25, 2005

Man of the House

Man of the House (Director: Stephen Herek)

Herek has many films you've heard of, but I suppose if I were to choose his best, it would be Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. He also directed the live-action 101 Dalmatians, the Richard Dreyfuss school-flick Mr. Holland's Opus, the 80's campy horror flick Critters, cult-fave comedy Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead, Disney's The Mighty Ducks, the 1993 misfired adaptation of The Three Musketeers, another 90's Eddie Murphy setback in Holy Man, the Mark Wahlberg critical whipping boy Rock Star, and the Angelina Jolie reporter saga Life or Something Like It. In other words, Stephen Herek is a hack. Not to be confused with Man of the House, the Chevy Chase-Jonathan Taylor Thomas turd from 1995.

This film will give you a couple of laughs, due to some really interesting line-readings from Tommy Lee Jones as Texas Ranger Roland Sharp, who must protect five Texas cheerleaders who have witnessed a murder of a key witness in an upcoming case. Other than that, why was the movie made? Well, possibly to show hot cheerleaders in skimpy outfits, but then, the movie doesn't go nearly into exploitation as much as it should. Where the movie is sort of held back is that Sharp is so good at his job that there's no real danger until a silly plot device comes into play.

And, from the trailer's promise, it seems like the girls are going to be a total challenge for Sharp to keep reigned in, but that's not true either. There's a lot of plot threads that aren't worth a damn, and it only serves as a means to pad the film's length. So, this comedy is hurt by the fact that there aren't enough scenarios to mine for laughs. They even add a preacher with a criminal past in Cedric the Entertainer, who is only in here, I believe, for marketing purposes. His one function in the film's plot is to recognize someone in a photograph, but then perform his grown-ass-man comedy antics.

This movie is just, nothing. It has nothing to say, nothing to exploit (the girls are really hot, and you'll see some nice outfits, but it's just not enough), and nothing to get excited about--antagonist is clearly identified after thirty minutes, and if you're keen, before then, so no surprises await. We have only Tommy Lee Jones to watch, and he's pretty funny (as is Cedric) in some instances, but his character does not allow the others in this film to shine.


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