Man of the House

Bomb Rating: 

Some movies are so bad these days that you don't actually have to see them to know what's going to happen or how most of the jokes will develop, but that's how it is when filmmakers estimate their audience's cumulative IQ at about 90. With both this film and "The Pacifier" (which are almost the same film), one need only watch the trailer to figure out the entire plot and every joke.

I will say that I couldn't have predicted that Texas Ranger Roland Sharp (Tommy Lee Jones) would stick his hand up a cow's ass. But since this is the third film in which I've seen somebody stick his hand up a cow's ass, I can only assume that fourth such incident looms somewhere in my immediate cinematic future. Such is the evolution of cinema: The ratio of films in which a character sticks his hand up a cow's ass to those in which a character does not has just increased ever-so-slightly.

However, knowing that Sharp is assigned to protect a group of cheerleaders who've witnessed a murder made prediction a simple matter. One only needs to understand how the mind of the mediocre Hollywood scriptwriter works. Simply put: It doesn't. Sharp is divorced and somewhat estranged from his own daughter. He's also self-serious beyond belief. This means that several uncomfortable confrontations with women's undergarments and feminine hygiene products are a virtual guarantee.

For a little added spice, the writers toss in a love interest for Sharp in the form of Professor Molly McCarthy, which reminded me of the exact same scene in Rodney Dangerfield's "Back to School" both for its plagiarism and the fact that nobody believed the Professor would fall for Rodney. Nobody believes it here either: Sophisticated, beautiful, Ph.D. falls for simpleton doofus.

The real sad thing here is the supposition made by the writers. They assume that by accentuating the seriousness of the Tommy Lee Jones character to the point of caricature, they're increasing the humor factor because they're increasing the contrast between the character and his charges. While the "fish out of water" scenario is a standard comedic platform, it's been so overused that bad writers exaggerate it to no purpose at all. It's like dumping a second bucket of paint on the head of an unsuspecting passerby.

Amazingly though, "Man of the House" is actually a smarter film than "The Pacifier." At least in this film, director Stephen "The Mighty Ducks" Herek doesn't even pretend that the audience won't immediately figure out who the bad guy is. To his credit and the writers, they actually try to differentiate between cheerleaders. Sadly, that makes "Man of the House" barely watchable, a distinguishing characteristic that differentiates it from "The Pacifier," which is like comparing two different kinds of skunk feces.

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