Man Of The House

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Movie Review by Toby White

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Archer, Brian Van Holt, Christina Milian
Director: Stephen Herek

Oh dear, Tommy Lee Jones. What have you done? Those credits that appear after an actor/director’s name in every review/article/DVD sleeve when once were a stunning selling point are swiftly becoming consigned to old screen classics in Tommy’s case. To illustrate, what looks better: “…starring Tommy Lee Jones (THE FUGITIVE, JFK, THE COALMINER’S DAUGHTER)” or “…starring Tommy Lee Jones (THE HUNTED, THE MISSING, MAN OF THE HOUSE)…”? Any more of the first option and it would look as though he’d been missing for a years and was staging a comeback. But no, Mr Jones has been acting. But while a few turkeys could be forgiven (every actor does it for the money) but to executive produce this too, that’s raising the money, not being paid for it!

Briefly, in tracking the killer of a key informant, by-the-book Texas Ranger Roland Sharp (Tommy Lee Jones) is assigned to protect the only key witnesses to the crime by going undercover and moving in with them, a group of college cheerleaders. Yes, it is as bad as it sounds.

For the briefest of moments, about ten minutes in and suppressing the urge to walk out, the introduction of the five cheerleaders offers a lift with their girlie “blonde” moments but, even as we get to know them, each one slips into film character cliche. There’s the quiet, soulful smart one, the ditsy blonde who flirts with every guy in college and struggles with a Romeo and Juliet test paper, the bolshy Latino – oh, for heaven’s sake, you get the picture. As for the plot, what should be a formulaic cop/witness comedy – STAKEOUT setting the bar for the genre – becomes a pointless string of social comment set pieces weaved around a story so tenuous it’s non-existent, it doesn’t even bear being labelled in a genre.

To describe this as formulaic is to insult the people that put together the formula.

2 out of 6 stars