Thursday, November 9, 2017

MR. NANNY

You know what, I'm in the mood to review a Michael Keaton film. And one of his earlier films before we saw him shine as Beetlejuice, Batman, and Birdman. Some us remember him as a workaholic  Father that became a monstrous looking snowman in "Jack Frost", but he is also best known for playing a stay-at-home Dad in the 1983 comedy...

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Wait, wait, wait, hold the phone for a second! Is that Hulk Hogan posing in a ballerina tutu for a movie poster titled "Mr. Nanny"? No, no, no, no, this can't be real. This has to be a fake right? Well honestly I wish this were the case, but it's not. And incase if you somehow missed the title above of what film I'm reviewing, and actually thought that I was going to review a similar titled film "Mr. Mom", than I greatly apologize for it.  And for those of you who were wondering of why I chose to review such a stupid looking and forgotten film is because I'm interested to see a famous Wrestler make a fool out of himself by stooping to such a low in his film career. But is this film going to be an amusing kind of embarrassment, or the dull kind of embarrassment; ON WITH THE REVIEW!

Hulk Hogan plays an Ex-Wrestler with a bad past of being responsible for not throwing a fight for rich criminal Tommy Thanatos (David Johansen), resulting with his manager and best friend Burt (Sherman Hemsley) taking a bullet for him in the leg. To help his friend financially after hearing too much of his constant bitching and moaning, Hogan (yes, I'm just going to call him Hogan throughout the review since he's pretty much just playing himself) decides to take the job as a bodyguard for Alex Mason, Sr. (Austin Pendleton) who has created an anti-missile chip and is being threatened by terrorists who are searching for it. But rather than seeing Hogan guard the chip and the maker of it in an action packed adventure, he instead has to watch over Alex's kids while being their new nanny since they always manage to scare the other nannies away. And if you think that this film is going to bring something new and special in terms of plot, you're giving a family film with Hulk Hogan posing in a tutu waaay to much credit, because the plot plays itself out like any other corky slapstick comedy aimed for families in the 90s. The kid's are neglected by their Father who puts his work before his family. The kids don't get along with Hogan but eventually start to warm up to him. And the kids get kidnapped by our antagonist where it is now up to Hogan to save them. It's so utterly predictable that right when Hogan is assigned to look after the kids, you know exactly how this is all going to end, and where and when each important event is going to happen in the story.



And with a story as generic and predictable as this, it seems like that Hogan's embarrassment is going to be the boring kind of embarrassment, and it is! It's not as painful as watching a body building star like Arnold Schwarzenegger getting pregnant, but it's still nearly as cringe worthy. And I'm not just talking about scenes of him dancing and fighting in a tutu, having a little girl do his hair, and getting into cartoony pain from the booby traps that the kids set up for him; but just how stupid, clumsy, and childish his character is. His character is supposed to be a tough, short-fused and badass professional wrestler who's trying to move on with his life, and while I buy him being hot tempered and that he was a Wrestler (because that’s Hogan’s profession), I don't at all buy the scenes when he has to be clumsy and innocent (that both shine at the film's worst when he's shown to be playing with a model of a ray gun and then breaking it). You get the impression that he's only shown to be accidentally breaking stuff, doing some childish things, and idiotically walking into the children's traps because that's what a lot of live action kids films were doing at the time to cash-in on "Home Alone", and not what the character would do. But to Hogan's credit even though his overall performance doesn't work, he in the very least seems to be trying to bring some kind of charm and fun to his performance when compared to everyone else in this movie.



The kids in this movie are the worst thing that the film has to offer. Not in terms of acting, though they're not good actors either, but just how wickedly sadistic and deranged they are. If you thought Kevin McCallister was a psychotic killer in training, you'll definitely change your tune when you meet these two kids. Unlike how Kevin was simply defending himself against two burglars that could possibly kill him if he was caught, these kids are trying to hurt any nanny that comes into their home. Sure they'll do simple harmless occasional pranks to Hogan like attach a bucket of ice cold water on top of a door, or try to annoy the hell out of him, but for the most part they create traps that are just as dangerous as the ones that Kevin creates. They try to crush him with a weight, put broken glass on his chair, hit him in the head with a bowling ball, and electrocute him when he steps out of the shower. And it's not like that these kids aren't realizing the consequences of what they're doing to poor innocent people, they know exactly what could happen and laugh and giggle at every ounce of pain that they bring showing no care at all if their victims will live, die, or be maimed. In fact they enjoy gloating about the other nanny's they've injured, and literally at one point try to increase the voltage to full blast when they're electrocuting Hogan so that they can kill him!

And the amount of abuse that Hogan goes through is so extreme that he gets all bloody.



Okay, okay that's actually just red dye all over him, but either way it's still horrifically nasty to look at.



The writing for the kids is not only dreadfully mean-spirited and platitude, but it’s very inconstant and far-fetched. These kids are mad geniuses who are calculating, manipulative, and can create traps and devices to harm anybody who stands in their way. The boy Alex even has a science lab for a room that he designed and renovated himself. But despite being so smart, they are seen being picked on by kids at school, and getting kidnapped by the terrorists, and I'm sorry but the fact that they are vulnerable to any kid or adult is so hard to swallow that I almost choked to death! I don't believe for a single second that these kids would be helpless when facing bullies and terrorists. They are so intelligent beyond all reason, that they can easily protect themselves with their brain and skills. And the only reason why we get scenes of them acting like regular helpless kids when it's clear as crystal that they're are far from it is because it's used as a tool to have us sympathies with these little monsters, and watch Hogan develop connection with them and act as the hero in the climax.




What shocks me the most that really draws the line of stupidity that this film brings is how the adults react to these kids. The characters are hardly ever shocked or surprised at how dangerous and bright that these kids are, acting as if every thing that the kids are doing are what kids do. I know Hogan acknowledges that these aren't ordinary kids, but considering all the abuse and torture that they rain down on their nannies, nobody ever thinks of calling the cops or sending them away since what they are doing to them is lethal, not even Hogan or their freaking Father? And what makes the stupidity of the adult characters even more brainless is Hogan and his manager eventually wind-up supporting their abusive nature by encouraging them to use weapons on the bullies in school. Hogan gives Alex the idea to electrocute the bullies, while Burt on the other hand literally brings weapons such as a brass-knuckle and a lead pipe on school grounds explaining to him with insane enthusiasm of how bloody and messy the result will be! This isn't funny, this is disturbing and twisted! There' even a scene where they both randomly tell the kids about Burt's leg that involves rigged fights, the mafia, and all the gruesome details of what happened to Burt and Thanatos, because after all that's the kind of information that you want to share with kids, especially with kids as deviant as them.




The character of Burt is not only as messed up as the kids are, but Sherman Hemsley performances lacks any kind of subtlety since every single time he appears on-screen he's always acting loud and obnoxious, and this is a guy who we're supposed to feel sorry for considering his past with Hogan. It makes me wish that this guy died from the bullet considering how annoying he is, which is a pity to see a famous TV star (from the hit TV show "The Jeffersons") give such a painfully bad performance. Austin Pendleton as the workaholic rich Father archetype looks like that he's sleep walking through his entire performance for how disoriented he looks, and giving zero damns about showing any kind of emotion out side of his blank stare and lifeless performance. It's like he knows that the character he's playing is blandly written for how clichéd he is, and decided to just half-ass it as much as he could by walking around like a mindless zombie and simply saying these lines rather than emoting to them. But hey, his careless performance at least matches how careless his character is since he gives no craps about an easily hot tempered guy protecting his kids, or the fact that his kids are intellectually dangerous psychopaths that need some serious help. It's just irritating to see the music do all the emotion for him for scenes when he blankly stares at a picture of his deceased wife (oh yeah, can't forget that trope), and tries to make-up with his messed-up children. Even his smiling, and how he snaps against the villain is emotionally lacking. The family by the way, also has a black housekeeper played by Mother Love, who I swear that this character was ripped out of an old black and white musical comedy. And if you're wondering if she's just as annoying, loud, and violent as Hemsley is, she is.



When I heard that David Johansen was going to play the film's villain, I was curious to see how he would pull-it off since I enjoyed watching him so much as the Ghost of Christmas Past in "Scrooged". I wasn't expecting it to be good, but in the very least I hoped that he was going to be the most entertaining character in the picture, and sadly he isn't. He's not annoying as many of the other characters in the film, but as much as he tries to yuck things up with the bad script that he's been given, I found him to be quite boring to the point where the only things that I remember about him is that silly hairdo that we see in the flashback, and the metal plate on his head that looks as convincing has Leslie Nielsen's half robotic face in "Surf Ninjas". Johansen also provides the score for the movie, and with me thinking that maybe his score will be good if he doesn't give a fun performance since he specializes in music, I was mostly wrong again. It sounds as generic as any other music you'd hear in a slap-sticky family film made at that time. It's corny, it's sappy, the zany pieces sound very clichéd, and it’s pretty much forgettable. However, I will give credit for Johansen for writing a catchy song played for the credits called "Rough Stuff" that was originally going to be the film's title, so at least he did succeed with something for the movie, it's just too bad that we can only fully enjoy it when the credits roll.

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Now aside from the kids showing such monstrous glee over torturing Hogan and the other nannies, the scenes involving them setting up traps on Hogan, while not as violent as you think they would be since they are tamed, they're far from funny. It's so watered-down that it doesn't offer that fine line between being painful and funny like the film that this movie is trying to in cash-on, and most of the abuse that Hogan suffers have already been done in many films around that time before this one, which makes the slapstick comes off as redundant as well. And since Hogan is a wrestler naturally he'll have to have a few scenes of him fighting, but with the exception of the scene where he fights against a few security guards, they're pretty lackluster and even degrading on one occasion since we see him fight while wearing a tutu. However, as boring and unfunny as everything regarding the fighting and slapstick sounds that doesn't mean that the film doesn't get violent at times, but it's done more in harsh way than in a funny way. We see the Father being tortured by almost being drowned to death; watch the villain slap one of the kids in a face supported by a brutal sound effect (though to be honest, I'd rather watch that again and again for the film's run time given how awful the kids are, not to say that I at all support child abuse); and see a man throw a dog into the water for no rhyme or reason as Hogan rides his motorcycle. As for the overall look for the film, it's nothing at all intriguing or different either. The film's nightmare sequences for heaven's sake doesn’t even look that new or special, nor comes across as emotionally disturbing for how bland and unintentionally silly it is!

OVERALL THOUGHTS

It surprise me how willingly Wrestlers are to give a part of their dignity away for films as dumb as this just to be paid a high sum of money. It’s generic, it’s predictable, it’s corny, it’s highly mean-spirited, it’s unfunny, and at times painful to watch for how disturbing and humiliating it gets.  It’s a perfect example of how not to make a family movie starring a famous Wrestler that really makes me wish that Hogan was not part of that example, especially when previously starring in an already bad family film called "Suburban Commando" that was in the very least not as shameful as this. 

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