You could be excused for thinking that "Man of the House" looked like Tommy Lee Jones desperately needed a paycheck, or even that, for some reason, Tommy Lee Jones wanted to end his career quickly (he's an exec producer on this thing, so the latter is certainly a theory.) For those thinking from the title alone that, for some reason, the Jonathan Taylor Thomas/Chevy Chase picture of the same name was enjoying a 10th anniversary re-release, this isn't the JTT flick. This film's trailer looked rather painful, and certainly made me cringe every time - and it played every five seconds before the film's release - it was on television.
Directed by the rather hacky Stephen Herek (ok, "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" was good), "Man of the House" stars Tommy Lee Jones as Roland Sharp, a Texas Ranger who is, essentially, the gruff, no-nonsense character that Jones has played in countless movies in the past decade. Essentially, a group of cheerleaders is the witness to a crime, and they need to be taken into protective custody - in other words, it's the gruff old guy with a bunch of whiny, self-obsessed cheerleaders.
The movie isn't really concerned with the hows and the whys (or things like character development, etc.), just the fact that we can be presented with Jones trying to shop for tampons, getting a makeover from the cheerleaders and finding himself in other jokey (read: old, dated jokey) situations. Some of it does get a chuckle or two, but a pretty decent amount of it falls flat. The actresses playing the cheerleaders (including Christina Millian, Paula Garces and Monica Keena) do manage to do enough with the rather flat material to not make the characters irritating, which they easily could have been.
Jones, on the other hand, gives it a try, but looks a little pained in scenes like the one where he has to roller skate to "Dancing Queen". Cedric the Entertainer also gets a chance to embarass himself in a random dance-off scene with the cheerleaders. The picture isn't terrible, but it's one of those movies that just is - it fades from memory as you're watching it and starts to feel long after a while.
Again, "Man of the House" isn't a total loss, but it seems like the screenplay was written a while back and only recently dusted off.
VIDEO: "Man of the House" is presented by Sony Pictures Home Video in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 full-frame. Both editions are on the same side of a dual-layer disc, and are accessible from the main menu. The anamorphic widescreen presentation generally appears fine, with no considerable faults. Sharpness and detail are fine, as the picture looked crisp and clear - sharpness and detail were not exceptional, but the image looked generally well-defined, with no serious softness.
Minor-to-mild edge enhancement was present at times, as well as some slight traces of pixelation. The print appeared to be in excellent condition, with no specks, marks or other concerns. Colors looked bright and vivid, with no faults. Overall, the presentation was satisfactory, but it would have been better had the pan & scan version been left off.
SOUND: The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack was mainly a comedy mix, with the audio mostly situated across the front speakers. The surrounds kick in minorly during a few sequences, but they're not utilized too much throughout the picture.
EXTRAS: A "making of" and a "Cheer Camp" featurette.
Final Thoughts: "Man of the House" doesn't exactly give anyone involved a career boost - it's a forgettable picture that starts to feel long after a while. The DVD provides satisfactory audio/video quality and a couple of minor supplements. A slight rental recommendation for those interested.