You cut me bad Mr. Mom

Jack Butler loses his job in Detroit’s auto industry during the 80s bust. He then fails to find a job before his wife,Caroline, played by Teri Garr, gets hired at an advertising agency leaving him home to take care of the house and kids.

Mr. Mom is about a couple things: Jack’s transformation from a working man to a successful home maker; Caroline’s re-entry into the working world and her no-nonsense style that cuts through the crap and gets to the heart of problems; we, the audience learn that gender roles aren’t set in stone.

Or – put another way, Mr. Mom shows the moral corruption of the business that fired Jack, the agency partner who incessantly tries to woo Caroline away from her husband and the friend (Ann Jillian) who tries to steal Jack away from Caroline. 

ImageThis movie gets to me on a couple of levels. First, my position is not dissimilar to Jack’s (we even share a name).I certainly worry about falling into the same state of apathy.  Second, stories about losing jobs and even the threat of poverty scare the hell out of me. The Pursuit of Happyness, for instance, gives me cold sweats to think of even today. To top it off, I don’t think any employer is coming to beg me to return to work for my old salary plus a company car.

I’ve always liked this film, but I’m having a hell of a time trying to figure out why. I guess I just like Michael Keaton – I think he’s a better and funnier ‘everyman’ than Tom Hanks, I think Teri Garr is terrific and Ann Jillian is always good for spice. There are a ton of other quality actors filling the minor roles proving that good acting can give a movie life.

I liked it even tonight, some thirty years after seeing it for the first time in 1983. It holds up well. Especially for those of us who still remember 1983.

imdb gave it 6.2/10, rotten tomatoes gives it 84%. I’m going with rotten tomatoes here.

well, there it is, 2 down – 98 to go.


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