Man Of The House

*

Reviewed by: Symon Parsons

The male sex drive is a terrible thing. Take this film, for example. I am guessing, but did someone offer Tommy Lee Jones a role in which he is surrounded by teenage cheerleaders and did he leap at the chance without reading the script? If he had read it, he might have reconsidered. Probably not, actually, because - well - let's not forget those teenage cheerleaders...

Put simply, Man Of The House is predictable, stupid and lacking any sort of wit, imagination or credibility. Not only will it insult your intelligence, it will poke your intelligence in the eye and steal its wallet.

The plot concerns Texas Ranger Tommy Lee, who must go undercover as a cheerleading coach in order to protect five airheaded nymphets who have witnessed a murder. Naturally, his moody masculine manner clashes with the feminine perkiness of his charges and hilarity ensues - in theory.

In practice, it just doesn't work. The writers, director and actors steer away from confrontation and the protagonists get along pretty well. Nice this may be, but it is hardly the stuff of comedy. Instead, the filmmakers have decided to make the most of putting TLJ in atypical situations in the hope of raising a cheap laugh. Cue scenes of the stone-faced star buying Tampax and roller-skating. He succeeds in looking like an idiot, but little else.

In fact, the jokes are few and far between and strikingly banal when they do appear. Jones seems uncomfortable in a comic role and the cheerleaders are simply oh-my-God-so-like-totally-stereotypical-you-guys. The only bright spot is provided by Cedric the Entertainer, as a crooked preacher. Unfortunately, he doesn't hang around too long, a fact that will limit the damage to his career. Anne Archer also gets a lucky escape in a minor role as Tommy Lee's love interest.

It will surprise no one to learn that Tommy Lee gets to grips with his sensitive side and the cheerleaders allow him to become a better person. I'm sure the girls learnt something from him, too, but it's hard to tell, because at this point I was checking my watch and wondering when the next number 16 bus would be along so I could throw myself under it.

That this film escaped from the bottom shelf at Blockbuster into your local multiplex is extremely disturbing. I can only assume that the distributors have a thing for teenage cheerleaders, too. Avoid.

Reviewed on: 09 Apr 2005
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Man Of The House packshot
Texas Ranger goes undercover to protect teenage cheerleaders.
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Director: Stephen Herek

Writer: John J. McLaughlin, Scott Lobdell, Robert Ramsey, Matthew Stone

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Paula Garces, Christina Milian, Monica Keena, Vanessa Ferlito, Kelli Garner, Anne Archer, Cedric the Entertainer

Year: 2005

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US

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