|Directed by||Ivan Reitman|
|Written by||Kevin Wade|
|Produced by||Ivan Reitman|
|Edited by||Wendy Greene Bricmont|
|Music by||James Newton Howard|
Northern Lights Entertainment
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$108.4 million|
Junior is a 1994 American buddy sci-fi comedy film directed and produced by Ivan Reitman, and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito and Emma Thompson. The film follows Alex Hesse, an Austrian-American scientist who agrees to undergo a male pregnancy from a newly developed drug Expectane.
The film was released in the United States the day before Thanksgiving on November 23, 1994, to lukewarm reception and did not match the box office performance of Reitman's earlier films starring Schwarzenegger: 1988's Twins, which also starred DeVito and Schwarzenegger as a comedic duo, and 1990's Kindergarten Cop. Schwarzenegger and Thompson received Golden Globe Award nominations for their performances. The film's theme song, Patty Smyth's "Look What Love Has Done" was also recognized, going on to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Austrian research geneticist Dr. Alex Hesse (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his OB/GYN colleague Dr. Larry Arbogast (Danny DeVito) invent a fertility drug, "Expectane", designed to reduce the chances of a miscarriage. With the drug unapproved by the Food and Drug Administration, Hesse and Arbogast are unable to test the drug and cannot continue their research. Head of the review board Noah Banes (Frank Langella) informs Arbogast that while the FDA denied human experimentation, the team has received a donation from geneticist Dr. Diana Reddin (Emma Thompson) from the ovum cryogenics department.
Hesse plans to start over in Europe, but Arbogast suggests they can still perform the experiment, with Canadian firm Lyndon Pharmaceutical offering to fund them provided they find a volunteer. Hesse questions the likelihood of a pregnant woman taking an unapproved drug, but Arbogast suggests omitting the volunteer's gender and convinces Hesse to impregnate himself with an ovum codenamed "Junior".
That night, Hesse dreams his potential offspring has his own face. As weeks go by, he complains to Arbogast of sore nipples, and chats incessantly about walks, massages, and naps. Contemplating fatherhood after watching television commercials, Hesse breaks down sobbing.
When the time comes for Hesse to end the experiment and release the results to Lyndon Pharmaceutical, Hesse continues taking the drug and decides to carry the pregnancy to term; initially annoyed, Arbogast agrees to keep it hidden. Hesse develops a relationship with Reddin, and reveals his pregnancy to Angela, Arbogast's ex-wife.
Reddin is stunned and angry when it is revealed that the "Junior" ovum is hers, and Banes attempts to take credit for the experiment. Disguised as a woman, Hesse hides in a retreat for expectant mothers, blaming his masculine appearance on anabolic steroid use. Reddin visits, telling Hesse it does not matter who is pregnant because he is the father and she is the mother. Arbogast reveals the experiment's data to Lyndon Pharmaceutical, who agree to partner Hesse and Arbogast.
Hesse experiences abdominal pain from the start of labor, calling for Arbogast and Reddin. As Reddin rushes to the resort, Arbogast tells a fellow doctor to prep for an emergency caesarean section. A hospital staffer overhears and alerts Banes, who summons the media and the University Dean in hopes of taking credit for the world's first pregnant man. Warned by a colleague, Arbogast creates a decoy for Hesse to allow a private c-section. When Arbogast arrives, the media only see the pregnant Angela, discrediting Banes who is fired by the Dean.
Reddin and Hesse enter the hospital by the fire escape, and he has an emergency c-section. Sent to keep Angela company in the waiting room, Reddin finds her in labor and becomes her delivery coach. Hesse gives birth to a healthy baby girl, and Arbogast announces the arrival to Reddin, who is assisting Angela with contractions. Reddin leaves Angela with Arbogast and rushes to see the baby, whom she and Hesse name Junior. Arbogast delivers Angela's child and they reconcile to raise the boy, Jake, as their own.
The movie ends with the families on vacation, celebrating the birthdays of Junior and Jake. Reddin is pregnant with their second child, and Angela mentions wanting another baby but not wishing to endure pregnancy again; they all try to convince a reluctant Arbogast to carry the child.
Originally developed under the title of Oh Baby, the film was announced during production of Reitman's Dave as a reteam for him and Schwarzenegger. Emma Thompson signed to star in February of 1994 following her Academy Award Nominations for The Remains of the Day and In the Name of the Father.
Following the successful collaborations between Schwarzenegger and Reitman on Twins (1988) which grossed $217 million worldwide and Kindergarten Cop (1990) which grossed $202 million, Variety's Leonard Klady predicted that the film, which opened the day before Thanksgiving, would be the biggest of the season. The film was the biggest to open over the Thanksgiving weekend with a gross of $10 million in 3 days but was only placed fourth overall for the weekend with just half the gross of The Santa Clause. In North America, the film did not perform as expected and only grossed slightly more than half its budget ($37 million vs. $60 million) but grossed a total of $108 million worldwide.
The film received lukewarm reviews with a 36% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 4.7 out of 10, based on 33 collected reviews. The critical consensus reads: "Even with an abundance of talent behind and in front of the camera, Junior doesn't quite deliver enough laughs to nurse its zany high-concept idea." Notably, Roger Ebert was a fan of the film, giving it 3½ out of four stars and maintaining that: "I know this sounds odd, but Schwarzenegger is perfect for the role. Observe his acting carefully in Junior, and you'll see skills that many 'serious' actors could only envy." Ebert and his partner Gene Siskel gave the film "two thumbs up" on their television show.
Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Comedian and former Mystery Science Theater 3000 host Michael J. Nelson named the film the second-worst comedy ever made.
In May 2007, Sandy Smith had launched an essay writing competition, asking entrants to attempt to prove that Junior could be considered the greatest film of all time. He obsessively started collecting copies of the film in November 2005, and eventually collected 24 copies. In February 2008, despite Sunday Herald covering the story, the competition received fewer entries than there were prizes offered.