It doesn't take Aaron Spelling's name in the opening credits to tell you that Stan Dragoti's Mr. Mom feels a whole lot like a made-for-TV movie. It's a paper-thin feature-length sitcom about a mom who heads out on a successful career -- while unemployed Daddy gets accustomed to life as a stay-at-home parent.
And since Mr. Mom was made in the 1980's, it's only logical to assume that A) mom will deal with some sort of sexual harassment, and B) dad will act like an absolute moron who's never been around a baby for more than 11 consecutive minutes.
Yep, pretty much everything about Mr. Mom reeks of outdated, warmed-over, and practically extinct comedy material ... but then there's the cast. Movie fans don't have fond memories of Mr. Mom because of its still-timely social commentary or its brilliantly crafted plot structure -- they dig it because Michael Keaton's the star. And Michael Keaton is (usually) a warmly amusing and effortlessly charming guy. Even with Erma Bombeck-style domestic humor like Mr. Mom's got in spades, Keaton consistently rises above the mawkish material (as written by a pre-Shermer John Hughes) and turns a turkey into a treat.
And then there's the young and adorable Teri Garr as the upwardly-mobile mom, Martin Mull as a colorfully scummy letch, and Jeffrey Tambor and Christopher Lloyd as Keaton's former work buddies. Toss Ann Jillian, as a neighborhood sex-pot, into the mix, and you've got a who's who of fun faces.
Equally as slight, cute, and conventional in 1987's Baby Boom, which stars Diane Keaton as a fierce businesswoman who finds her life thrown into disarray when a far-distant relative leaves a baby girl under her protection.
But with J.C. Wiatt (Keaton) being such a ruthlessly successful executive, and this being 1987, she has no real interest in becoming a mother -- for at least the first few days. But eventually little Elizabeth melts J.C.'s heart, so she quits her lame-o job filled with subtle chauvinism and heads on up to New England, where she woos a hunky vet and builds a brand-new business: designer baby food! (See how helpful a baby can be??)
Again, it's the cast that saves the day here. Baby Boom could have very easily been a CBS Saturday Night Special starring Valerie Bertinelli, but with the ever-charming Keaton in the lead (and with Harold Ramis, Sam Shepard, and an oily James Spader providing the background), the flick turns out to be as harmlessly entertaining as it is outlandishly unrealistic. (Baby Boom was one of the early collaborations between then-spouses Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer; together they also wrote Private Benjamin, Irreconcilable Differences, Protocol, Once Upon a Crime, I Love Trouble, and both of the Steve Martin Father of the Bride flicks.)
Video: Mr. Mom is presented in a fuzzy and bloated fullscreen transfer, which, frankly, sucks. Just because the movie feels a lot like a TV flick, that's no reason for it to look like one. Baby Boom is delivered in a half-decent widescreen (1.85:1) transfer.
Audio: Mr. Mom is a tinny 2.0 and Baby Boom comes in 2.0 English or French. Optional subtitles (English & French) are available on both movies.
Extras: The Baby Boom DVD comes with the original theatrical trailer, and that's about it.
A pair of sweet little kid-centric domestic comedies that would probably make for a solid (if not nostalgic) double feature -- too bad Mr. Mom comes with a grungy and unpleasant full-frame package.