The Equivalent of Bear Crap
If you’re sitting in a theater, watching a “comedy” and you don’t laugh, is it still a comedy?
There are certain films you should be aware of. Films released during most of January and in late August/ early September. These are the slowest periods of the year and the studios tend to dump films that they don’t think are any good. And all films produced by Revolution Studios. This company has only produced one film that might be considered ‘good’ and that was Ridley Scott’s “Blackhawk Down”.
Notice how I am artfully delaying my critique of “Man of the House”?
The trailer preceeding “Man of the House” was for “XXX: State of the Union”, also produced by Revolution Studios. Don’t even get me started on the fact that they made a sequel to “XXX”. In the trailer, Samuel Jackson is featured prominently, but at the end of the trailer, his name isn’t even listed. I suspect that he was overwhelmed by the money offered and underwhelmed by the final product and had his name removed.
Apparently, Tommy Lee Jones couldn’t have his name removed from “man of the House”, the abysmal new ‘comedy’ in which he appears in virtually every scene.
It’s a familiar premise. Stoic, uptight guy (Jones), in this case a Texas Ranger, is deposited in an environment that makes him uncomfortable. Jones has to protect a group of five cheerleaders at the University of Texas, Austin, who have witnessed a murder. The cheerleaders are all vain, dumb and try to lighten up Jones’ character. You’ll laugh your head off. Unfortunately, in “House”, there is almost nothing, scratch that, there is nothing, to make you even remotely smile.
This set-up has been used hundreds of times and is already a pretty tired concept, but the film is so dead upon arrival that almost no one even seems to have the energy to try to make it work. Jones walks through the role, virtually the same role he does in action films and thrillers, with the usual competence. This is also supposed to be the joke. Because we are so familiar with Jones from “The Fugitive” and other films as the no-nonsense, won’t stop for anything lawman, we are supposed to laugh when we watch him dealing with five scantily clad college cheerleaders.
The problem with this film lies in two areas: the tired premise, as already addressed, and the complete stereotypical nature of the cheerleader characters. They’re obsessed with their bodies? They’re promiscuous? They love to shop? They want to go out and party? Wow, that’s original.
Clearly, the filmmakers intended for some of the most tired elements of the film to “liven things up”. Jones’ character has a bad relationship with his daughter, who is approximately the same age as the hookers, er, cheerleaders with a heart of gold that Jones’ is charged to protect. What do you think will happen? Yep, that’s right.
Stephen Herek, the director, has created yet another truly terrible film. His previous efforts have included “Holy Man”, starring Eddie Murphy, “Rock Star” starring Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston and “Life or Something Like It” starring Anjelina Jolie and Edward Burns. Let me amend my previous statement.
There are certain films you should be aware of. Films released during most of January and in late August/ early September. All films produced by Revolution Studios. And all films directed by Stephen Herek.