Mr. Mom
Theatrical release poster
Directed byStan Dragoti
Screenplay byJohn Hughes
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyVictor J. Kemper
Edited byPatrick Kennedy
Music byLee Holdridge
Production
company
Sherwood Productions
Distributed by20th Century Fox[1]
Release dates
  • July 22, 1983 (1983-07-22) (limited)
  • August 19, 1983 (1983-08-19) (wide)
Running time
91 Minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$64.8 million

Mr. Mom is a 1983 American comedy film originally distributed by 20th Century Fox, directed by Stan Dragoti and produced by Lynn Loring, Lauren Shuler, and Aaron Spelling. It stars Michael Keaton (in his first lead role), Teri Garr, Jeffrey Tambor, Ann Jillian, Christopher Lloyd, and Martin Mull. A furloughed Detroit automotive engineer becomes a stay-at-home dad and takes care of three young children, as his wife returns to a career in the advertising industry as an executive at a large agency.

Plot

Jack Butler lives with his wife, Caroline, and their children Alex, Kenny, and Megan, in a Detroit suburb. During the early-1980s recession, Jack and his friends Larry and Stan lose their engineering jobs at the Ford Motor Company. Caroline, having been a housewife for years, uses her college education and experience working in advertising to re-enter the workforce, leaving Jack to deal with the new and bewildering responsibilities of a stay-at-home dad.

Jack discovers childcare and house maintenance involve a complex juggling act, and his initial struggles in daily errands gain the attention and company of other neighborhood housewives. Eventually, he hits his stride and although somewhat distracted by the flirtatious Joan (a neighbor and friend of Caroline's), he begins to feel confined by suburban domestic life. Simultaneously, he feels threatened by Caroline's responsibilities and work-life as a fast-climbing ad executive.

Meanwhile, Caroline contends with challenges in the workforce: her maternal and housekeeping instincts jeopardize her position as a sophisticated executive, and her boss is intent on having his way with her. During a pitch to a hard-to-please client, Caroline's insight as a budget-conscious housewife proves invaluable. The client's president wants her to fly to Los Angeles to help shoot a commercial. In the meantime, Jack's former employer invites him to interview for his old job, but his former boss, Jinx Latham, betrayed his reputation. Jack lectures them on dirty practices and storms out. Caroline's boss, Ron Richardson, tries to convince her to leave Jack and marry him, while Joan continues to try and seduce Jack. After a commercial shoot in Los Angeles, Caroline relaxes in her hotel bathtub. Ron sneaks into her room with champagne. Back home, Jack tries calling her so the kids can talk to her, but Ron answers. He hangs up, leading Jack to think his wife is having an affair. Caroline fends off Ron and quits her job.

The next day dawns with repair people in the home to fix a broken television and spray for bugs. Caroline arrives home unexpectedly, and she and Jack talk over their misunderstandings, reuniting as a stronger couple. Ron stops by, begging Caroline to come back to work, as the client thinks only she can properly handle their account. However, Caroline says she intends to get a better job and has missed her family. Jinx also comes begging for Jack to return to work. Jack punches Jinx in the face for being rude to Jack's son and says he won't come back to work unless Larry and Stan do also, which Jinx accepts. On the newly repaired TV, the national commercial Caroline helped produce is being broadcast.

Cast

Production

While working at Motown Productions, story editor and struggling producer Lauren Shuler read an article in National Lampoon written by John Hughes and kept in touch with him. One day, Hughes told Shuler about a disastrous experience he had looking after his two children in the absence of his wife, which Shuler found hilarious. After Hughes asked if that could make a good movie, she replied that "it sure sounds funny to me". Hughes wrote the film and flew to Los Angeles to rewrite the script with Shuler. As Hughes had a TV deal with Aaron Spelling, he brought him in as an executive producer. Studio executives at Universal Studios, unhappy that Hughes worked in Chicago and not Los Angeles, fired him, bringing in a group of TV writers to remake his script.[2]

Ron Howard was offered the opportunity to direct the film but turned it down to do Splash.[3]

At this point, the studio decided to turn the project into a feature film instead of a television movie. Shuler, who remained as a producer, said that while she liked the final product, she thought Hughes' original script was better.[2] Shuler was told by a friend, agent Laurie Perlman, about "this guy who is really funny" whom she represented, Michael Keaton. After meeting Keaton and seeing his screen debut, 1982's Night Shift, Shuler sent the actor the Mr. Mom script.[4]

Reception

Critical reception

Leonard Maltin gave it 2.5 stars out of 4, stating "pleasant enough rehash of age-old sitcom premise" and adding "likable stars make it palatable, but you've seen it all before".[5] Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times similarly gave the film 2 stars out of 4, describing Mr. Mom as "a lost opportunity" for resorting to cliches rather than finding humor in the characters as portrayed by the "promising" and talented cast.[6]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 75% based on reviews from 24 critics. The critical consensus reads: "Mr. Mom makes up for its stereotype-driven premise with a sweet script and charming work from a well-matched cast led by Michael Keaton and Teri Garr".[7] On Metacritic, it received a weighted average score of 50% based on reviews from 7 critics.[8]

Box office

The film opened to limited release on July 22, 1983, with $947,197, earning the number 13 spot that weekend.[9] Upon its wide release on August 19, 1983, a month later, it opened at number 3 with $4,279,384 behind Easy Money's opening weekend and Risky Business' third.[10] Mr. Mom ended up earning $64 million in the US.[1] Its success led Universal to sign a three-picture deal with Hughes for $30 million.[11] Those three films he would later release for the studio were Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Weird Science.

Television series

A television adaptation of the 1983 film by MGM and Walmart's streaming service Vudu serves as a continuation of the film, following an adult Megan Butler heading back into the workforce while her husband takes over the parental duties of their two children.[12] The series serves as the first original series for the streaming service; it stars Andrea Anders and Hayes MacArthur as Megan and Greg Anderson, respectively, and premiered on September 12, 2019.[13]

Episodes

No.Title [14]Directed byWritten byOriginal air date [14]
1"Pilot"LPMike Culbert, Mike Pellettieri & Leslie RatheSeptember 12, 2019 (2019-09-12)
2"What About the Kids?"LPMike Culbert, Mike Pellettieri & Leslie RatheSeptember 12, 2019 (2019-09-12)
3"The List"LPMike Culbert, Mike Pellettieri & Leslie RatheSeptember 19, 2019 (2019-09-19)
4"The Sandman"LPMike Culbert, Mike Pellettieri & Leslie RatheSeptember 19, 2019 (2019-09-19)
5"Good Cop, Good Cop"LPMike Culbert, Mike Pellettieri & Leslie RatheSeptember 19, 2019 (2019-09-19)
6"Date Night"LPMike Culbert, Mike Pellettieri & Leslie RatheSeptember 26, 2019 (2019-09-26)
7"The Salad Days"LPMike Culbert, Mike Pellettieri & Leslie RatheSeptember 26, 2019 (2019-09-26)
8"Pitches Be Crazy"LPMike Culbert, Mike Pellettieri & Leslie RatheOctober 3, 2019 (2019-10-03)
9"Crickets"LPMike Culbert, Mike Pellettieri & Leslie RatheOctober 3, 2019 (2019-10-03)
10"Sick Day"LPMike Culbert, Mike Pellettieri & Leslie RatheOctober 10, 2019 (2019-10-10)
11"Three, Two, One"LPMike Culbert, Mike Pellettieri & Leslie RatheOctober 10, 2019 (2019-10-10)

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Mr. Mom at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ a b Priggé, Steven (2004). Movie Moguls Speak: Interviews with Top Film Producers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. pp. 90–91. ISBN 0-7864-1929-6.
  3. ^ Cormier, Roger (2016-03-16). "15 Surprising Facts About Splash". Mental Floss. Retrieved 2021-12-13.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ Plume, Kenneth (30 November 2000). "Interview with Producer Lauren Shuler Donner (Part 1 of 2)".
  5. ^ Martin, Leonard (2006). Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide. Signet Books. p. 879. ISBN 0-451-21265-7.
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 22, 1983). "Mr. Mom Movie Review & Film Summary (1983)". Chicago Sun-Times.
  7. ^ "Mr. Mom". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 12, 2021.
  8. ^ "Mr. Mom Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  9. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for July 22-24, 1983". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-12-15.
  10. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for August 19-21, 1983". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-12-15.
  11. ^ Lallch, Richard (January 1993). "Big Baby". Spy: 77. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  12. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (October 10, 2018). "'Mr. Mom' Returns: MGM Teams With Vudu To Revive '80s Classic". Deadline. Retrieved August 27, 2019.
  13. ^ Pedersen, Erik (August 26, 2019). "'Mr. Mom' Trailer: First Original Series From Walmart's Vudu Streaming Service". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 27, 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Mr. Mom – Listings". The Futon Critic. Retrieved September 18, 2019.