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Man of the House (1995)

A young boy refuses to accept his mother's new boyfriend, a lawyer, despite the man's attempts to win his respect, while disgruntled relatives of a criminal he prosecuted seek revenge.

Director:

James Orr

Writers:

David E. Peckinpah (story) (as David Peckinpah), Richard Jefferies (story) | 2 more credits »
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Chevy Chase ... Jack Sturges
Farrah Fawcett ... Sandy Archer
Jonathan Taylor Thomas ... Ben Archer
George Wendt ... Chet Bronski
David Shiner David Shiner ... Lloyd Small
Art LaFleur ... Red Sweeney
Richard Portnow ... Joey Renda
Richard Foronjy ... Murray
Peter Appel ... Tony
Chief Leonard George Chief Leonard George ... Leonard Red Crow
George Greif George Greif ... Frank Renda
Ron Canada ... Bob Younger
Christopher Miranda Christopher Miranda ... Hank Sweeney (as Chris Miranda)
Zachary Browne Zachary Browne ... Norman Bronski
Spencer Vrooman Spencer Vrooman ... Darryl Small
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Storyline

Ben Archer is not happy. His mother, Sandy, has just met a man, and it looks like things are pretty serious. Driven by a fear of abandonment, Ben tries anything and everything to ruin the "love bubble" which surrounds his mom. However, after Ben and Jack's experiences in the Indian Guides, the two become much closer. Written by Adam Burstein <burs7211@cs.nyu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Jack wants to marry Ben's mother. But there are strings attached.

Genres:

Comedy | Family

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 March 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Man 2 Man See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$40,070,995
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the film was routinely panned by movie critics, it was the 41st top Box Office film in the U.S. in 1995. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie, during the wedding. As Jack is asking Ben for the rings, Ben kids around and pretends to have lost them. If you look at the ring finger of Jack's left hand, he is clearly already wearing his wedding ring. See more »

Quotes

Ben Archer: [Ben has to choose an Indian name for Jack] How about... Squatting Dog?
Jack Sturgess: [Jack gives him a surprised look] Squatting Dog? That's the best you could come up with?
Ben Archer: I had a dog once who had a terrible case of the squirts. He was my best friend in the whole world.
Jack Sturgess: Didn't you have any other pets?
Ben Archer: I had a squirrel named Numb Nuts.
Jack Sturgess: [sighs] I think I'll take... Squatting Dog.
See more »

Crazy Credits

No bees were harmed during the making of this film. All bee action was supervised by Dr. Norman E. Gary, entomologist. See more »

Alternate Versions

In the scene where Jack is on the cot and it breaks, he says "This sucks," but when the movie was aired on the Disney Channel, he says, "This stinks." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Deformed Monsters (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Louie, Louie
Written by Richard Berry
Performed by The Kingsmen
Courtesy of Highland Music, Inc.
By Arrangement with Rhino Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not just a comedy
13 February 2005 | by BrandtSponsellerSee all my reviews

Sandy Archer (Farrah Fawcett) is a single mom. She and her son, Ben (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) have been on their own for years, but now she's met an attorney, Jack Sturgess (Chevy Chase), and fallen in love. When Jack moves in to Archer's loft, he quickly learns that it's going to be rough going with Ben. To make matters more complicated, Jack routinely helps put away criminals with dangerous connections. Can Jack save his relationship with Sandy, save his job, save his life and become a welcomed stepfather to Ben all at the save time?

I feel a bit sorry for Chevy Chase. Regardless of what he's like personally, I think he's genuinely talented, and not just for comedy. But he's acquired such a reputation over the years for being in sub par stinkers (mostly unjustly deserved, in my opinion) that I think it's a major hurdle for audiences to give his films a fair chance. That's a shame, because this is a very good film, with a good performance from Chase and the rest of the cast.

It's important while watching to not expect Man of the House to be an over-the-top comedy. It's as much a drama as anything else, and has adventure/thriller aspects as well. All of the genres are entered into from more of a child's or adolescent's perspective, which is appropriate for the material and venue.

From that perspective, scenes about the Indian Guides (a plot point that may have swayed my view of the film even more, as it brought back memories of my time in the Indian Guides with my dad back in the early 1970s) are just as weighty (both seriously dramatic and funny) as chase scenes with an impending threat of death. Other seemingly minor elements are also given more weight than they would have from an adult standpoint, and logic, plot progression and even physics are coming from a kid's world, not an adult's. That's not an easy thing for a 40-something year old director to achieve with just the right tone, but James Orr makes it look effortless.

The scriptwriters weave the various threads of the film together very nicely, as Jack uses connections from his work to make the Indian Guides even more fun and educational, while at the same time, saving his relationship with an important client. In fact, the funniest material in the film comes from fish out of water themes. Various characters are regularly approaching activities they would normally avoid, with inappropriate attitudes, clothing, and so on. The subtext of the film, stemming from the fish out of water material, concerns furthering self through understanding and furthering others--opening up to new perspectives, trying different things, cooperating with others, and so on. Initial resistance makes things difficult, but the attempt to understand and further others brings happiness.

The entire principle cast is great, but Man of the House also benefits from a number of excellent character actors, including George Wendt, Art LaFleur and Richard Portnow. Like most films, you'll enjoy Man of the House more, and get much more out of it, if you leave your expectations/preconceptions parked at the door.


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