Rated: PG Reviewed by: Chris Release date: March 3, 1995 Released by: Walt Disney Pictures
Chevy Chase stars in a heartwarming comedy about the plight of being a potential stepfather.
The beginning of the film shows five-year-old Ben waving goodbye to his father as he leaves him and his mother and drives off with his secretary in tow. It picks up when Ben (played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas of TV's Home Improvement) is 11 years old and living happily with his mom (Farrah Fawcett) in Seattle.
Everything is just the way Ben wants it, until Jack (Chase), a respected district attorney, moves in. Ben resents the fact that his mom might be marrying this man and decides to make it difficult for Jack when he tries to become his friend.
Ben persuades Jack to join a father/son Indian Guide Club with him. Ben thinks the group is made up of a bunch of nerdy kids and their goofy dads sitting around a campfire stringing beads. He figures Jack will soon tire of the "dad" routine and bail out.
The best part of the film shows Ben warming up to Jack. He's a boy longing for a close relationship with a man, but afraid that Jack will leave him like his dad did. It's a problem that occurs in a lot of broken homes today, and even though this is a comedy, fragile feelings are dealt with in a realistic way.
George Wendt (Norm of Cheers) plays a stepfather and a member of the Indian Guide Club. He's both understanding and generous with his advice to Jack on how to win Ben's affections.
This is the most serious subject that I've seen Chase handle and he does a good job, mixing a little humor with a more thought-provoking theme.
Thomas, as Ben, stats out impudent and cool and then slowly shows his vulnerability and is quite believable. Fawcett is also good as she plays a concerned and caring parent and although striking, she seems to be downplaying her looks to appear more like a regular mom. Why she has been excluded from all print and television ads for the film is beyond me.
I was expecting a very physical comedy as is Chase's specialty, but was pleasantly surprised to watch a warm, touching story about a man trying to get close to the son of the woman he loves and it works very nicely.
|Man of the House||B+||B+|