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The Boys Next Door (1996)

Jack Palmer is a social worker whose job has taken precedence over his personal life. Mainly, his job is to help four mentally challenged men live regular lives in a home. They consist of: ... See full summary »

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(play), (teleplay)
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Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
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Barry Klemper
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Jack Palmer
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Mary Fremus
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Bob Klemper
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Mrs. Tracy
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Mrs. Warren
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Dr. Racine
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Cashier
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Senator Warren Clarke
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Rena Palmer
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Storyline

Jack Palmer is a social worker whose job has taken precedence over his personal life. Mainly, his job is to help four mentally challenged men live regular lives in a home. They consist of: Norman, who works at a donut shop and has a thing for keys; Barry, who thinks he is a golf pro and doesn't communicate well with his father; Arnold, who is into all things Russian and has a habit of spending money; and Lucien, who is into Spider Man and must testify before the state senate. Jack wants to help them, but he also thinks it is time to move on with his life. The hard part is trying to say goodbye to the guys he cares about. Written by Pat McCurry <ccgrad97@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes being a little different means being a lot more wonderful.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements

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Details

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Release Date:

4 February 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hallmark Hall of Fame: The Boys Next Door (#45.2)  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the original stage show, Lucien's last name was "Smith" and not "Singer". See more »

Quotes

Lucien P. Singer: I stand before you a middle-aged man in an uncomfortable suit, a man whose capacity for rational thought is somewhere between a five-year-old and an oyster.
[pause]
Lucien P. Singer: I am retarded. I am damaged. I am sick inside from so many years of confusion, utter and profound confusion. I am mystified by faucets and radios and elevators and newspapers and popular songs. I cannot always remember the names of my parents. But I will not go away. And I will not wither because the cage is too small. I am here to ...
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Crazy Credits

One of the end credits read, "Devon the hamster is alive and well... spending his hazardous duty pay". See more »

Connections

Edited into Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wonderful film; but I'd REALLY like to see the play.
28 May 2005 | by See all my reviews

This Hallmark Hall Of Fame film lives up to its usual mark of excellence for the T.V. audiences. Based on a play by Tom Griffin ( which I have not yet seen), it describes the sometimes comedic, sometimes tragic lives of four men in a transitional home for those who cannot eke out a "normal" living due to psychiatric and/or developmental disabilities. Norman (Nathan Lane) is moderately mentally challenged, but has the demeanor of a 10 year old. Lucien (Courtney B. Vance) is severely developmentally disabled, and although he's perhaps in his late twenties, has a mind of a 4 year old. Arnold (Michael Jeter) is both mentally challenged and bipolar, which makes him an interesting, if not unstable character. Barry (Robert Sean Leonard) is a young man in his early to mid twenties, but has trouble dealing with reality due to his schizophrenia. At the helm of this fascinating ship of misfits is Jack (Tony Goldwyn) the social worker and the key to helping these men live as independently as possible. The relationships between these four men with special needs and the social worker with HIS special needs (a neglected marriage) are intertwined with various effect...sometimes hilarious, sometimes painful, but always moving. Although it is always difficult for the movie industry to portray any subject dealing with mental illness/developmental disability, this film does an above average job. However, I can't help but feel that too much material was squashed into the script, that the movie didn't "flesh out" the characters enough. Nathan Lane,though a comic genius and gifted actor, appeared to be a little too caricatured in his role. Courtney B. Vance was far and away the most realistic in his portrayal of the perennial child. Michael Jeter was funny, but he didn't have the essential qualities that a manic person would display on a consistent basis. Robert Sean Leonard is an astute actor, but failed to convince me that he suffered with schizophrenia. Tony Goldwyn was effective as the social worker who is co-dependent with his four charges, but never quite crystallized his sense of marital destruction towards his wife. Despite these shortcomings, "The Boys Next Door" rates as a top-notch film. If nothing else, this off-beat story will compel me to read or watch Griffin's play.


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