Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
|Featuring:||Tommy Lee Jones, Kelli Garner, Shannon Marie Woodward, Terry Parks, Anne Archer|
|Producer:||Todd Garner, Steven Reuther, Allyn Stewart|
Protecting witnesses is a challenge. Living with them is impossible.
“Man Of The House” is one of those movies that has a target audience, but doesn’t seem too sure who that target audience might be. It could be UT fans. It could be young teenage boys (or maybe even teenage girls who wanna be cute little cheerleaders, but I doubt it)—or possibly Tommy Lee Jones fans in general. It has comedic moments, with fill-in moments of violence, sexual innuendo, references to drug use and drinking, with a sprinkling of redeemable story content.
Roland Sharp (Tommy Lee Jones) is a tough and dedicated Texas Ranger who always gets his man. He has neglected his family for his career. His wife has left him, and his daughter Emma loves him, but hardly knows him.
He has been hot on the trail of an unknown government informer/murderer and an unlikely turn of events has the latest murder witnessed by five UT Cheerleaders who must be protected 24/7 while they are trying to identify the guy. It just so happens only these five have seen the murder’s face, so Roland must go undercover as an assistant cheerleading coach and live in the cheerleader’s college digs at UT to make sure they remain safe until the bad guy is caught and brought to justice.
In the process, tough Texas Ranger Sharp finds a gentler identity. He softens up under the cheerleaders’ vibrant spirit. He comes to understand how to pay more loving attention to his daughter. And, of course, Roland finds love for himself with the beautiful college English Professor, Molly (Ann Archer).
Occasionally, the acting is pretty good. However, “Man of the House” is formula all the way to its predictable end—riding along on loud car chases, high powered shootouts, stupid girl tricks, and lots of cheerleader’s T’s and A’s (moments meant to be cute, but mostly out of place).
These days, there is so much real violence in the world that it would be nice to keep it out of comedic films intended for family and young teen viewers. The serious violence in “Man of the House” seems out of place in comparison to the light-hearted relationship between the cheerleaders and gruff Roland—throwing the balance of the film way off.
Parents beware; the film’s PG-13 is misleading. A rough count has a** (4), bi**h (2), sh** (5), he** (4), da** (1), go to he** uttered once, three times our Lord’s name was taken in vain and one disturbing reference to a man’s di** by a “loose” cheerleader. After her cell phone is confiscated, a cheerleader states that she hasn’t had phone sex with her boyfriend for two weeks, and she is going crazy. Some music that the girls like to listen to is described as “vagina music” (how weird is that?). There are several lewd finger gestures, but surprisingly no nude scenes and no f-word. Lastly, as is expected in this type of story, the cheerleaders wear very skimpy outfits, and all the men are shown drooling over these young ladies with their perfect, tan bodies. Women may become bored with the film’s overworked idea of women as sex objects.
This movie gets a high score for crude humor. The most repulsive bit appears in the beginning scene, that I won’t go into detail about; let’s just say it involves a cell phone which gets “lost” in between a cow’s hinder parts and a preacher suggests “parting it like the Red Sea” to retrieve the phone. When he is handed his retrieved phone, he exclaims “there’s da holy cow.”
These opening scenes take place in a church full of choir members and the reformed convict/minister (Cedric the Entertainer). Ranger Sharp is there to question the minister about the fellow he is tracking, and several references are made in religious terms for secular endeavors, such as “I am a prophet in a non-profit world,” “Like the O.J.’s said: There’s a train a comin’.” Roland’s character says, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition,” when asked to speak at a UT pep rally. When the crowd cheers him on, the comment is made “…he has so much spirit, he might start speaking in tongues.” Obviously the writers thought it was very funny fare, but the various religious references will be offensive to some Christians.
The film has some redeeming qualities. When the minister is asked whose side he is on, he exclaims, “I am on God’s side now!” The girls team together to help Roland understand his daughter and her need for his love and parental friendship. These girls also describe cheerleading as not all about how they look, but that it goes deeper to encompass a positive attitude, team spirit and the support of the players and crowd of fans when the going gets tough at the games. The cheerleaders also assist Roland in wooing Molly, as the rough-around-the-edges Roland has no idea how to be a true gentleman. This is a sweet point in the film and seems believable. I am glad the script called for the characters to play this straight, making it come alive, compared to the rest of this formula comedy.
Families may want to discuss what God’s description of a virtuous woman is and what produces true beauty in a woman (girl)—a sweet spirit from within. Young men should be reminded that in God’s eyes, lusting for a woman they are not married to is not funny; it is adulterous (Matt. 5:28—see: Adultery). God wants both genders to respect each other. This includes respect of the body, keeping it pure before God—and before marriage. In reality, Jesus should be the True Man of our house. Follow His example for all things we go through in life. He tells us in John 15:15, “…All things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” Not only did Jesus speak His Father’s will, He came to Earth and lived it under the most trying circumstances in witness for us all.
If you really want to see this “Man of the House,” I suggest waiting until it comes to the video stores. View it with caution, if at all.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate