Movie: Mr. Mom
Release Date: August 19, 1983
Director: Stan Dragoti
Starring: Michael Keaton, Teri Garr, Martin Mull, Ann Jillian, Christopher Lloyd.
Tag Lines: “When mom goes to work, dad goes berserk!”
“Caroline’s a rising executive. Jack just lost his job. Jack’s going to have to start from the bottom up.”
Relevance: Some movies are more than just movies, they are a social phenomenon. One could argue that was the case with ‘Mr. Mom,’ a small little comedy released way, way back in the summer of 1983. It received positive reviews from critics and was a box office hit, however it’s lasting impressions on society, men and women’s roles in the workplace and sexism were far long lasting than its theatrical run. As important as that may be to some, I just thought it was a really funny, funny movie. But what did I know, I was just a kid.
In 1983, I was twelve years old and didn’t have too much cares in the world. On the precipice of becoming a teenager, I spent most of my time listening to music, watching television and movies and hanging out with my family. It was a boring life, but one that I would take back in any second of any day. I loved to laugh and my favorite shows and films were comedies. (Although I still enjoy a good laugh, my taste these days has gravitated more towards the darker elements in pop culture.) Back then though, a laugh went a long, long way.
I did not see ‘Mr. Mom’ when it was in theaters, but I heard about it from pretty much every aspect of life. For starters, I saw the commercials, trailers and television interviews with its stars. Then every friend and family member was talking about the film (so it seemed) and the phrase “Mr. Mom” became an overused description to every man that cooked or cleaned. There were also those discussions on “The Today Show” and Good Morning America” about stay at home dads and women in the workplace. By the time the movie finally made it to HBO you would think I was tired of hearing about it, but that was definitely not the case.
Once it appeared in our monthly HBO Guide, my family was set to sit down and watch what most of America had been talking about for months. Since the trailers made me laugh, I was right on board. The movie got more than just a chuckle here and there from my family, it received uproarious laughter throughout its entire ninety-one minute run time. There were plenty of jokes, gags, slapsticks and innuendos to entertain every member of my family. I knew who Teri Garr was at the time, but Michael Keaton was somewhat of a newbie to Hollywood. As soon as I was introduced to him as Jack Butler, I became an instant fan and have remained one to this very day. His performance in the film was the perfect blend of comedy and likability.
‘Mr. Mom’ remained one of my family’s favorite films and it seemed to be on our television every time HBO had it scheduled to be playing. We just couldn’t get enough of it. It made all of us laugh and the jokes, as juvenile as some of the were, just never once got old for us. The film even got the coveted “recorded on a blank VHS” treatment and we were able to continue watching it long after it ended its run on HBO. And it wasn’t just my family that loved the film so much. I remember many of my friend’s families talking about how much they loved it as well. Even over a year after it was in theaters, there was still a large murmur from my small little community. The movie definitely made its impact in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
‘Mr. Mom,’ the movie and the phrase, is still popular with me to this very day. It is a film I look very fondly on and one that I still quote to this day. “Are you crazy? You don’t feed a baby chili!” “Kenny, don’t paint your sister!” “How’d you like a little trim on that moustache, Ron?” I could go on and on. As mentioned above, I remained a huge fan of Mr. Keaton and no matter what glorious work he is still performing and producing, a little bit of him (at least to me) will always be ‘Mr. Mom.’
Today’s Thoughts: “I understand that you little guys start out with your woobies and you think they’re great… and they are, they are terrific. But pretty soon, a woobie isn’t enough. You’re out on the street trying to score an electric blanket, or maybe a quilt. And the next thing you know, you’re strung out on bedspreads Ken. That’s serious.”
‘Mr. Mom’ was a great big ball of sunshine on this dark, gloomy fall day in 2020. I was so looking forward to revisiting this comedy classic to see if it still made me laugh as much as it did when I was a kid. Short answer, hell yeah it did.
The film is silly and probably a little dated, but with that said it’s still laugh out loud hysterical escapism. And who can’t go for a little escapism these days? Michael Keaton and Teri Garr are the perfect match as husband and wife and they have really great chemistry together on screen. All of the moments that made me laugh as a kid made me laugh again as an adult and really that’s all I was looking for today. Even though as mentioned the movie seems a little dated, there is still that ominous hovering of how far we have come with sexism since 1983 and yet how much more we have to go.
‘Mr. Mom’ is a classic comedy that really does stand the test of time though. If I have said it once I have said it a thousand times, funny is funny. And ‘Mr. Mom’ is funny. Be sure to check out this adorable comedy from the 1980’s with the entire family, both young and old.
Ways to Watch: YouTube, Cinemax, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, DVD Availability.