Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1983. Aaron Spelling Productions, Sherwood Productions. Screenplay by John Hughes. Cinematography by Victor J. Kemper. Produced by Lynn Loring, Lauren Shuler Donner. Music by Lee Holdridge. Production Design by Alfred Sweeney. Costume Design by Norman A. Burza, Linda Matthews, Nolan Miller. Film Editing by Patrick Kennedy.
Auto engineer Michael Keaton has his life turned upside-down when harsh economic times see him get laid off and his wife (Teri Garr) goes out and gets a job. As she becomes more successful at the advertising firm where she works, he becomes more and more of a disaster as a domestic engineer until he is motivated into high gear and turns housekeeping into an art. Although it overdoes itself with some pretty silly sitcom situations, the film has a lot going for it: Keaton’s intelligent performance keeps the proceedings from ever becoming too ridiculous, while the film never pats itself too often on the back for reversing gender stereotypes (it’s amazing that it doesn’t feel more dated when you watch it now). Basically it boils down to your own decision: you either prefer the idea of a man becoming a child’s primary caregiver being turned into goofy comedy, or you go back to Kramer Vs. Kramer and treat it as an application for sainthood. Ann Jillian has a delightful supporting turn as the horny divorcee in the neighbourhood whose eyes go green at the thought of a lonely man stuck at home all day.