|Michael Keaton Wondering What He Got Himself Into|
Mr. Mom finds Keaton in a role that was pretty unusual for the time it's set in. Keaton plays Jack Butler and employee at Ford Motor Company in Detroit, during the recession of the 80's. He winds up losing his job (along with his best friends) due to budget cuts and doesn't know what to do with his life at this point, he has a family to support. His wife played by Teri Garr decides that maybe it's her time to join the work force and leave Keaton with the kids. She applies at an advertising agency, as she used to work for one, prior to having children and gets hired.
Keaton doesn't know what to do with his 3 kids. He's never been a stay-at-home mom, so for the first part of the movie, he's failing at eveything he tries, from housecleaning and doing laundry to feeding the kids (you never feed chili to a baby). This is diametrically opposed to Teri Gar's character as she is soon finding success in the advertising world and getting a lot of recognition, especially from her boss.
The story lines between Keaton and Garr mirror each other very well. Garr's boss (Martin Mull) is trying to seduce her and get her into bed, while at the same time, the neighbor Joan (Ann Jillian) is trying to do the same with Keaton. Keaton and Garr keep to their vows of loving each other, even when Mull and Jillian do their best to try and sabotage the marriage. Eventually Keaton and Garr are able to work out the problems and they figure out exactly what's happening, making their relationship even stronger.
Although it's a typical Hollywood ending, Mr. Mom doesn't tread the same waters as most of these types of comedies do. Especially when it comes to the "misunderstanding" parts, when one person walks in on another in the middle of an embarrassing moment. Hughes treats those moments as the would be treated in real life. That's what made John Hughes so good at his craft, aside from being funny and able to write believable characters, he treats the situations realistically.
By the end of the movie, Keaton gets his job back, Garr is back to being the stay-at-home mom and life returns to its normal ways. Although each of them respect the other's dedication to their craft, the family unit is better off. It's cheesy, but it's a good movie.
John Hughes was fired because the studio didn't want him working on the script, because he lived in Chicago and not in Los Angeles. He was replaced by a group of TV writers to rewrite the script. Laura Shuler-Donner, a friend of Hughes, was the one to recommend that Hughes make a movie out of a story he told her about a disastrous day while watching his kids. Shuler-Donner liked the rewrites the studio had, but felt that Hughes story was much better and the studio brought Hughes back on that suggestion.
The movie ended up making 68 million at the box office during it's run and the studio gave Hughes a 3 picture deal. He ended up making Sixteen Candles, Weird Science and The Breakfast Club and we're all the better for it. Imagine what would have happened if the studio declined?
If you haven't seen Mr. Mom, or you haven't watched it in a while, rent it or buy it or grab it from Amazon (or iTunes) and watch it. It's a fun movie that will allow you to escape reality for a while and relax. Plus, you get Michael Keaton in one of his earliest roles, with a man-beard.
Mr. Mom (1983)
PG | 1h 31min | Comedy, Drama | 19 August 1983 (USA)
Mr. Mom Poster
After he's laid off, a husband switches roles with his wife. She returns to the workforce and he becomes a stay-at-home dad - a job he has no clue how to do.
Director: Stan Dragoti
Writer: John Hughes
Stars: Michael Keaton, Teri Garr, Fred Koehler