Saturday, February 11, 2006

Role reversal in Mr. Mom

Mr. Mom is a family comedy about the role reversal one family encounters when the father gets laid off and the mother goes back to work. I didn't know it when I started watching the film, but the story was written by John Hughes. Also, Grace, the secretary from Ferris Bueller's Day Off makes an appearance as the grocery store check out lady. What a coincidence! It is funny to watch the father in this family struggle with playing the role of "mom"; he makes many mistakes his first day on the job. First, there is the incident at his son's school where he goes in the exit and an irritated mother yells at him "Drop off's at the south, moron!" Then he attempts grocery shopping with the kids and manages to knock over several displays and lose one of his kids. I loved the scene where Jack, the father, ironed his kid's grilled cheese sandwich to warm it up and then stapled his other kid's blanket back together--hilarious!!

While this movie is very comedic, there is a more important theme to be extracted from it. It displays one of the strongest stereotypes present in our society to this day: that of the wife as the mother and housekeeper and the husband as the breadwinner and head of the family. This movie, although humorous, does a good job of displaying the other side of this stereotype. It is important to note that role reversal in today's society can work much better than it did in this movie. This movie is 23 years old, and today's society is definitely more accepting of a father who chooses to stay home and a mother who chooses to go to work. That is not to say it is common; it would probably still be thought of as a rare practice. However, many families today make this dynamic work, while still others function with both parents working.

Overall, this movie is good for a laugh as long as you don't expect much. It doesn't require much thinking on the viewer's part, and some of the attempts to be funny don't work as well as others. But it is still worth watching if you are in the mood to be entertained and get a few laughs out of it.

Check out the trailer here:

1 comment:

Vladigogo said...

Based on your second paragraph, it is interesting to see what Hollywood has done in the past couple of years.

DADDY DAY CARE, with Eddie Murphy, offered a sort of similar idea, as he loses his job and has to end up creating his own day care center and at first fails at it miserably.

The other is CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (and I really can't answer why I saw this film--I really want to say I watched it on the plane when nothing else was on, but I think that is a lie. I think I may have even rented it). And it is a contemporary rendering of MR. MOM, where Steve Martin takes care of his brood of kids while mom goes off with her job. It would be an interesting comparison to make.