Making the Grades
Remember those great Disney movies that seemed to have hit their peak in the sixties? Most starred Dean Jones, along with a few other not-too-famous faces that kept appearing over and over. Well, meet the nineties Dean Jones, as Chevy Chase seems to step into the shoes that Jones left behind.
Man Of The House really seems to bring back much of the old Disney style. There is plenty of dialogue and less slapstick in this film, and at times the pace is slow. Chase plays Jack Sturgess, an assistant D.A. who falls in love with Sandra, an artist who saw her last husband take off with his secretary. But the core of the action revolves around her son, Ben, who is masterfully played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas from Home Improvement.
The plot is easy: Ben is jealous, and doesn't want to risk his heart on another Dad, so he does his best at keeping his mom far away from any male attention. Sturgess is much more persistent, though, and is willing to go to any length to get Ben's approval. Ben's only hope is to trick Jack into joining the Indian Guides, a youth program that the movie depicts as something only nerds would belong to. Ben's plans don't come off as he had hoped, however, as both he and Jack wind up becoming closer for the experience, and Ben discovers that some things in life are worth more than they appear.
Overall, the movie shows how Ben stands up for something that he believes in, even though it is unpopular with "the other guys" at school. Father and son relationships are shown in a positive light, as well. On the negative, Man of the House suffers a bit from the "kids know everything" syndrome. Jack is also eager to sleep with Sandra, but Ben does his best to keep this from happening. So, as always, watch the movie with your kids if you can. Mom or dad can usually turn an average movie into a far more interesting experience.