Man of the House is exactly the movie that you think it is. You could watch the trailer for this film and know everything that is going to happen. So this begs the question, why watch the movie at all? Well, if you are a Tommy Lee Jones fan (which I am), then the thought if him playing the hard nosed, police/ranger-type character he’s known for should more then appeal to you. In a nutshell, 5 sassy cheerleaders witness the murder of a drug informant. In order to prevent anything from happening to these girls, Tommy Lee Jones is assigned to make sure that not a hair on their heads is messed up. Well, these girls are used to being free spirits, which puts them directly in the line of Jones’ hardball personality type and it is there that the crux of this movie (both emotionally and comedically) takes place. Add to this mix Cardiac The Entertainer and you have a studio that has hedged as many bets as they possibly can.
Overall, I didn’t think that Man of the House was anything that special. Sure, Tommy Lee Jones is fun to watch and yeah the girls are fun to watch too, but there really wasn’t anything that different about this movie. It’s as if there is a template for this type of project, and all the producers did was put in the necessary ingredients of money, actors and situations and out came Man of the House. I can only wonder why Tommy Lee decided to do this movie but something tells me that it was probably the first of the ingredients I mentioned.
The Making of “Man of the House
It’s interesting watching a “Making Of” for a movie like this. I feel this way because it’s obvious that the people involved are working at a deficit. The material is just banal and when you begin with a bad script how can the movie end up being anything special? I know that movies like Man of the House are supposed to be good time, mindless fun but isn’t there something to be said for being original within those confines? There is nothing too special about this “Making Of” except for the end. It is here that Tommy Lee talks about his relationships with the girls on the set. While nothing too profound is said, I think that his comments about him being “older” and them being “younger” goes a lot deeper then we think it does. It more then likely probably accounts for why this movie was made.
Camp Cheer Featurette
This is a nuts and bolts featurette about how the girls in the movie became cheerleaders. I was surprised by how many of them didn’t have any training in gymnastics or cheerleading at all. It is even more impressive when you watch the movie because from what I gather, I think they all did most of their own cheers. The people teaching them talk about what it was like working with novices, and as is always the case everyone has great things to say about everyone. Truthfully, it is amazing what these girls were able to accomplish on a crash course in a cheerleading camp.
2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. This movie can also be viewed in 1.33:1 Full Screen. As movies go, this film looks good. Nothing is underexposed, the images can all be made out clearly and there is nothing visually that should turn off the average moviegoer. It’s weird because in the “Making Of” they talk a little bit about the visual style and other things that they tried to infuse into this film. Yet, when watching it, I never really saw anything like what they were talking about. This is a pretty classically made tale of a man having to take care of some young girls and how they all grow within the process. The use of the school colors is done to good effect and I felt that for what I know about Texas, the filmmakers seemed to generally catch the vibe of that place pretty well.
Dolby Digital. Mastered in High Definition. Languages - English 5.1 (Dolby Digital), French 2.0 (Dolby Surround) and it is also subtitled in English and French. Why is that when watching a movie like this you know at some point you are going to get the idiot shivers? I ask this question because I knew that when the girls and Tommy Lee are first seen together on campus, there would be loud music playing that would underscore the situation. I also knew that when the girls are fixing up Tommy Lee for his date that I would get the idiot shivers. Sure enough, courtesy of Right Said Fred, this happened. It almost had to right? It is moments like this in movies that really bother me. I don’t care if I am watching a mindless comedy. I don’t care if a large audience thinks that it’s funny. I can dislike a movie based on these scenes. Now, I didn’t hate Man of the House because it used these devices, but let me just say that it didn’t help my feelings about the film.
The cover is the same one-sheet that I remember the movie having when it was released. Tommy Lee Jones stands looking mean, with the 5 girls that he is taking care of doing cheers around him. The back features 3 pictures of which Jones is in 1 and the girls are in 3. There is a description of the film, a special features listing, a cast list and technical specifications. To have insanely amazing packaging for a movie like Man of the House, would be more then out of place, it would be ridiculous. This packaging serves this movie fine and I am sure it will do well on video, because it’s theatrical run was probably not long enough for fans of Tommy Lee Jones to catch it. Add to this that it’s a cheerleading movie and it’s summertime and I think parents have found a decent film that everyone can enjoy.
As I said, I didn’t hate Man of the House but I didn’t love it either. I put it on, the movie played and I never had any moments where I wasn’t sure I knew what was going to happen next. Still, I did laugh in some parts and I think it’s a testament to Tommy Lee Jones because in my opinion it is him (and not the 5 hotties) that make this film one that is bearable to watch. I think they could have used Cedric the Entertainer a bit more but now I am starting to nitpick. As it stands, I think Man of the House has enough problems without me doing that.
Man of the House was released February 25, 2005.