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Mr. Mom is a 1983 American comedy-drama film directed by Stan Dragoti and written by John Hughes about a stay-at-home dad. The film stars Michael Keaton, Teri Garr, Jeffrey Tambor, Christopher Lloyd, and Martin Mull.

Plot

Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

Living with his wife, Caroline, and their three children, Alex, Kenny and Megan in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan during the early 1980s recession, Jack Butler and his two friends, Larry and Stan, lose their engineering jobs at the Ford Motor Company.

Caroline (having been a housewife for years) utilizes her college education and prior experience working in advertising before she left it to raise children to re-enter the workforce, leaving Jack to deal with new and bewildering responsibilities of being a stay-at-home dad.

Jack discovers that childcare and house maintenance is a complex juggling act and his initial struggles in daily errands gains 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), as well as the banal, senseless plot-lines of daytime soap operas, he begins to feel confined by domestic life. Simultaneously, he feels threatened by Caroline's responsibilities and work-life as a fast climbing ad executive.

Meanwhile, Caroline contends with her own challenges in the workforce: her maternal and housekeeping instincts at times jeopardize her position as a sophisticated executive; her boss, the wealthy head of the agency, is intent on having his way with her, all the while being in contention with an increasingly jealous husband. However during a tense agency pitch to a hard-to-please key client, Caroline's insight as a budget-conscious housewife proves to be invaluable.

The client's president wants her to fly to Los Angeles to help shoot a commercial and in the meantime, Jack's former employer invites him to interview for his old job, but his former boss, Jinx Latham, betrayed his reputation. He lectures them on dirty practices and storms out.

The neighborhood housewives surprise him and he finds himself accompanying them to a strip club (with male strippers) where he is hit on by a gay dancer there. He and Caroline find themselves fending off the lascivious advances of others. 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 successful 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 she's having an affair with him. Caroline fends off Ron's attempts and quits her job.

The next day dawns with repair people in the home to fix a broken television and spray for bugs. Joan stops by, and while Jack is in the bathroom, she makes herself at home in their bedroom. Realizing that she wants to sleep with him, he begins running reasons he should not have an affair with her.

Caroline arrives home unexpectedly, surprising Joan on the bed, and after a confrontation, she leaves. Caroline takes her place on the bed. Jack, not realizing she is home, comes back to the bedroom. They talk over the misunderstandings that occurred concerning Ron's and Joan's advances and reunite as a stronger couple.

Ron stops by, begging Caroline to come back to his company, as the client thinks that only she can properly handle his account. However, she has missed spending time with her children. Jinx also comes begging for Jack to return to work. He had made too many cuts in his design team and is now in danger of losing his job.

Alex says something to his father while Jinx is talking and Jinx yells at him at which point, Jack punches Jinx in the face. He accepts his old job on the condition that Larry and Stan join him. On the newly repaired TV, viewers see the commercial Caroline helped produce.

Cast

  • Michael Keaton as Jack Butler
  • Teri Garr as Caroline Butler
  • Jeffrey Tambor as Jinx Latham
  • Christopher Lloyd as Larry
  • Martin Mull as Ron Richardson
  • Taliesin Jaffe as Kenny Butler
  • Frederick Koehler as Alex Butler
  • Courtney and Brittany White as Megan Butler
  • Graham Jarvis as Humphries
  • Miriam Flynn as Annette
  • Ann Jillian as Joan
  • Edie McClurg as Checkout lady
  • Patti Deutsch as Deli girl
  • Tom Leopold as Stan
  • Carolyn Seymour as Eve
  • Michael Alaimo as Bert
  • Valri Bromfield as Doris

Reception

Critical reception

The film received mixed to positive reviews. Leonard Maltin gave it 2.5 stars out of 4, stating "pleasant enough rehash of age-old sitcom premise," adding "likable stars make it palatable, but you've seen it all before."[1]

Box office

Mr. Mom opened to limited release on July 22, 1983 with $947,197, earning the #13 spot that weekend.[2] Upon its wide release on August 19, 1983, a month later, the film opened #3 with $4,279,384 behind Easy Money's opening weekend and Risky Business' third.[3]

References

  1. Martin, Leonard (2006). Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide. Signet Books. ISBN 0-451-21265-7. 
  2. Weekend Box Office Results for July 22-24, 1983. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2012-12-15.
  3. Weekend Box Office Results for August 19-21, 1983. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2012-12-15.

External links

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