Junior (1994 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ivan Reitman|
|Produced by||Ivan Reitman|
|Written by||Kevin Wade
|Music by||James Newton Howard|
|Edited by||Wendy Greene Bricmont
|Northern Lights Entertainment|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Release date(s)||November 23, 1994|
|Running time||109 minutes|
Junior is a 1994 American comedy film written by Kevin Wade and Chris Conrad and directed by Ivan Reitman. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a scientist who undergoes a male pregnancy as part of a scientific experiment.
Research geneticist Dr. Alex Hesse (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has a nightmare about infants urinating in a library. In the real world, he and his colleague Dr. Larry Arbogast (Danny DeVito), an obstetrician and gynecologist, have invented a fertility drug, "Expectane", that is supposed to reduce the chances of a woman's body rejecting an embryo and thus prevent a miscarriage. Unfortunately, they are not allowed to test it on women since the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved the drug; so Hesse and Arbogast move forward in their research. In response, Hesse breaks into the laboratory and locks himself in. The head of the review board, Noah Banes (Frank Langella), informs Arbogast that while the FDA has denied their team the right of human experimentation, the team has managed to receive a donation from fellow geneticist Dr. Diana Reddin (Emma Thompson) from the ovum cryogenics department. When Hesse questions the chances of a woman taking an unapproved drug during pregnancy, Arbogast reveals that there is no need to identify the gender of the experiment and convinces Hesse to impregnate himself, using an ovum codenamed "Junior".
That night, Hesse has another nightmare in which his potential offspring has his own face pasted onto it. That day, he complains to Arbogast that his nipples are hurting him. Later, the normally aloof Hesse inexplicably lightens up and chats incessantly about walks, massages, and naps. Reddin tells Hesse that being a woman is not as great as it sounds, citing the menstrual cycles which do not stop until menopause. Meanwhile, Arbogast's pregnant ex-wife, Angela (Pamela Reed), wants him to be the doctor delivering her baby. Hesse begins to wonder what it would be like to be a father and watches some television commercials to have himself a good sobbing. He later begins overreacting, with Angela noting his practice of "mixing cuisines". It is revealed that the "Junior" ovum is actually from Reddin's own body, making her the mother of Hesse's child. Banes wants to take credit for the experiment despite having no role in it. Arbogast disguises Hesse as a woman and hides him in a retreat for expecting mothers outside the city, passing off his masculine appearance as past anabolic steroid use. Eventually, with aid from Reddin, Hesse goes into labor (as does Angela) and gives birth via caesarean section to a baby girl naming her Junior. Arbogast delivers Angela's child and the two reconcile to raise the boy, Jake, as their own. Banes, who had summoned the university dean and the press to witness the world's first pregnant man, is discredited and fired when Arbogast sneaks Hesse through a back door and brings his ex-wife before the press.
In the final scene, the two families are on a beach on vacation celebrating the birthdays of Junior and Jake. Reddin is pregnant with her and Hesse's second child, and when Angela mentions that she would like to have another baby but does not want to go through pregnancy again, they all begin trying to convince a reluctant Arbogast to carry the child.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dr. Alex Hesse (Research geneticist)
- Danny DeVito as Dr. Larry Arbogast (Obstetrician and gynecologist)
- Emma Thompson as Dr. Diana Reddin (Research geneticist)
- Frank Langella as Dr. Noah Banes (Head of research review board)
- Pamela Reed as Angela
- Aida Turturro as Louise
- James Eckhouse as Ned Sneller
- Megan Cavanagh as Willow
- Christopher Meloni as Mr. Lanzarotta
In North America the film grossed slightly more than half its budget ($37 million vs $60 million), worldwide it grossed $108 million.
Notably Roger Ebert was a fan of the film, giving it 3½ out of four stars and maintaining that:
"I know this sounds odd, but Schwarzenegger is perfect for the role. Observe his acting carefully in Junior, and you'll see skills that many serious actors could only envy."
Ebert and his partner Gene Siskel gave the film "two thumbs up" on their television show.
Despite negative reviews, the film received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song for the track "Look What Love Has Done". It also received two Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy (Emma Thompson).
In 2007 the Scottish artist Sandy Smith launched an essay-writing competition, asking entrants to attempt to prove that Junior could be considered the greatest movie of all time. Despite being covered in the national press the competition received fewer entries than there were prizes offered. The essays submitted, and one commissioned from an academic essay-writing company to Smith's own specifications, are available to read on the competition website - www.juniorbestfilmever.info
- A Slightly Pregnant Man, an earlier French 1973 film by Jacques Demy with Marcello Mastroianni playing the man who becomes pregnant.
- Walker, Michael (1994-11-20). "MOVIES : High Atop Mount Goofiness : When it comes to taking an unlikely premise--say, a pregnant Schwarzenegger--and turning it into a blockbuster comedy, nobody's earned his stripes like Ivan Reitman.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
- "Junior (1994)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. 1995-01-31. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
- "Junior". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
- Nelson, Michael J. "Inoperable Humor: The 5 Worst Comedies of All Time". Cracked. Retrieved 2007-03-26.
- "Junior". Chicago Sun-Times.
- McCracken, Edd. Arnie’s ‘one-joke’ movie made into work of art, Sunday Herald, February 24th, 2008. Retrieved on 2009-11-02.