Junior (1994 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ivan Reitman|
|Produced by||Ivan Reitman|
|Music by||James Newton Howard|
Wendy Greene Bricmont|
Northern Lights Entertainment
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$108.4 million|
Junior is a 1994 American comedy film directed and produced by Ivan Reitman, and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito and Emma Thompson. The film was released in the United States on November 23, 1994. The film follows Alex Hesse, an Austrian-American scientist who agrees to undergo a male pregnancy as part of a scientific experiment.
Despite the film's lukewarm reception, Schwarzenegger and Thompson received Golden Globe nominations for their performances. The film's theme song, Patty Smyth's "Look What Love Has Done" was also recognized, going on to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. It is also Schwarzenegger's third collaboration with DeVito, following 1988's Twins and 1993's Last Action Hero, and second with Pamela Reed after 1990's Kindergarten Cop.
Austrian Research geneticist Dr. Alex Hesse (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his OB/GYN colleague Dr. Larry Arbogast (Danny DeVito) 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 cannot move forward in their research. 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.
A disappointed Hesse is ready to leave and start over in Europe, but Arbogast convinces him that in spite of the FDA's decision, they can still perform the "Expectane" experiment, because he has talked with a Canadian firm called the Lyndon Pharmaceutical, who is willing to give the two additional funding for their work provided that they find a volunteer for the experiment. 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 a nightmare in which his potential offspring has his own face pasted onto it. As the weeks go by, he complains to Arbogast that his nipples are hurting him, and then later, the normally aloof Hesse inexplicably lightens up and chats incessantly about walks, massages, and naps. At one point, 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 Arbogast to be the doctor delivering her baby, as the man she is seeing is currently hanging out with the band Aerosmith. 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". When it comes time for Hesse to stop taking the drug and release the experiment's full results to the Lyndon Pharmaceutical, Hesse chooses not to stop taking the drug and decides to carry his offspring to term. Arbogast is annoyed that Hesse is choosing to have his offspring, but soon deals with it and attempts to keep it hidden from others. Hesse goes through his pregnancy term while he develops a relationship with Reddin, as well as revealing his pregnancy to Angela.
It is revealed that the "Junior" ovum is actually from Reddin's own body, making her the mother of Hesse's child, a fact which leaves Reddin angry and stunned at Hesse. Banes soon learns about the situation, and 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, Hesse receives a visit from Reddin, who tells him it doesn't matter who's the pregnant one, because on the whole, Hesse is the father, and Reddin is the mother. Meanwhile, Arbogast reveals the experiment and its data to the Lyndon Pharmaceutical, who agree to become partners with Hesse and Arbogast and give the experiment potential for other future uses.
Later, Hesse starts going into labor, experiencing abdominal pain due to the damage that the baby is doing to his abdomen. While shut away in his resort room, Hesse calls both Arbogast and Reddin. As Reddin rushes to the resort from the laboratory, Arbogast calls a fellow doctor and tells him to evacuate the hospital and prep it for an emergency c-section for Hesse, but a hospital staffer overhears the doctor's conversation and alerts Banes about it. Banes calls the media to the hospital, to take credit and become famous, but Arbogast's fellow doctor alerts him about the media and Arbogast makes a detour to get a decoy for Hesse so he can have a private c-section. When Arbogast's car arrives at the hospital, he disappoints the media when he brings out his own pregnant ex-wife. Banes, who had summoned the university dean and the press to witness the world's first pregnant man, is discredited and fired.
Meanwhile, Reddin and Hesse have snuck to the back of the hospital and use the fire escape to get in. While acting as Hesse's decoy double, at the hospital, Angela goes into labor. Hesse has an emergency caesarean section, where he is given an epidural even though he's at high risk, as is the baby. Reddin, not being able to help Hesse through this time, is sent by Arbogast to keep Angela company. Reddin walks into the waiting room to find Angela in labor and ends up being her labor coach, since there's no hospital staff available. Hesse feels emotionally scared and horrible, as Arbogast and the other surgeon cut through the last few layers of tissue to get to the baby; Hesse eventually gives birth to a healthy baby girl. Arbogast announces the arrival to Reddin, who is on hands and knees helping Angela cope with contractions. Reddin hands Angela over to Arbogast and rushes off to see Hesse as Arbogast has Angela prepped for childbirth. Reddin visits Hesse in the Post-op, getting her first glance at her baby, and together, they decide to name the baby girl Junior. Arbogast delivers Angela's child and the two reconcile to raise the boy, Jake, as their own.
In the final scene, the two families are on a beach on vacation celebrating the birthdays of Junior and Jake. Reddin is shown to be heavily pregnant with her and Hesse's second child. 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. Alexander "Alex" Hesse
- Danny DeVito as Dr. Larry Arbogast
- Emma Thompson as Dr. Diana Reddin
- Frank Langella as Dr. Noah Banes
- Pamela Reed as Angela
- Aida Turturro as Louise
- James Eckhouse as Ned Sneller
- Megan Cavanagh as Willow
- Christopher Meloni as Mr. Lanzarotta
- Brianna & Brittany McDonnell as Diana Jr.
- Ryan & Zachary Doss as Jake
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.
In May 2007, Sandy Smith had launched an essay writing competition, asking entrants to attempt to prove that Junior could be considered the greatest movie of all time. He obsessively started collecting copies of the movie in November 2005, and eventually collected 24 copies. In February 2008, despite Sunday Herald covering the story, the competition received fewer entries than there were prizes offered.
- List of American films of 1994
- Arnold Schwarzenegger filmography
- Rabbit Test (1978), a comedy film with a similar premise, starring Billy Crystal.
- A Slightly Pregnant Man (1973), an earlier French film by Jacques Demy, with Marcello Mastroianni playing the man who becomes pregnant.
- Thomas Beatie (also known as "The Pregnant Man"), an American trans 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.
- "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
- Nelson, Michael J. "Inoperable Humor: The 5 Worst Comedies of All Time". Cracked. Retrieved 2007-03-26.
- "Junior". Chicago Sun-Times. 1994-11-23. Retrieved 2016-10-19.
- McCracken, Edd. Arnie’s ‘one-joke’ movie made into work of art, Sunday Herald, February 24, 2008. Retrieved on November 2, 2009.