Mr. Mom

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Mr. Mom
Mr mom poster.jpg
Directed by Stan Dragoti
Produced by Lynn Loring
Lauren Shuler
Aaron Spelling
Written by John Hughes
Music by Lee Holdridge
Cinematography Victor J. Kemper
Edited by Patrick Kennedy
Sherwood Productions
Distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Release date
  • July 22, 1983 (1983-07-22)
  • August 19, 1983 (1983-08-19)
Running time
91 Minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $64.8 million

Mr. Mom is a 1983 American comedy film from 20th Century Fox, directed by Stan Dragoti, written by John Hughes, and produced by Lynn Loring, Lauren Shuler and Aaron Spelling. It stars Michael Keaton, Teri Garr, Jeffrey Tambor, Ann Jillian, Christopher Lloyd and Martin Mull.

The film follows an unemployed Detroit engineer becoming a stay-at-home dad and taking care of three young children, after his wife lands a job and returns to the advertising business as an executive at a big advertising agency.


Living with his wife, Caroline, and their three children, Alex, Kenny and Megan, in a Detroit suburb during the early 1980s recession, Jack Butler and his two friends, Larry and Stan, lose their engineering jobs at the Ford Motor Company. Caroline, having been a housewife for years, utilizes her college education and prior experience working in advertising before she left it to raise children to re-enter the workforce, leaving Jack to deal with new and bewildering responsibilities of being a stay-at-home dad.

Jack discovers that childcare and house maintenance is a complex juggling act and his initial struggles in daily errands gains the attention and company of other neighborhood housewives. Eventually, he hits his stride and although somewhat distracted by the flirtatious Joan (a neighbor and friend of Caroline's), as well as the banal, senseless plot-lines of daytime soap operas, he begins to feel confined by suburban domestic life. Simultaneously, he feels threatened by Caroline's responsibilities and work-life as a fast climbing ad executive.

Meanwhile, Caroline contends with her own challenges in the workforce: her maternal and housekeeping instincts at times jeopardize her position as a sophisticated executive; her boss, the wealthy head of the agency, is intent on having his way with her, all the while being in contention with an increasingly jealous husband. However, during a tense agency pitch to a hard-to-please key client, Caroline's insight as a budget-conscious housewife proves to be invaluable. The client's president wants her to fly to Los Angeles to help shoot a commercial and in the meantime, Jack's former employer invites him to interview for his old job, but his former boss, Jinx Latham, betrayed his reputation. He lectures them on dirty practices and storms out. The neighborhood housewives surprise him and he finds himself accompanying them to a strip club (with male strippers) where he is hit on by a gay dancer there. He and Caroline find themselves fending off the lascivious advances of others. Caroline's boss, Ron Richardson, tries to convince her to leave Jack and marry him, while Joan continues to try and seduce Jack. After a successful commercial shoot in Los Angeles, Caroline relaxes in her hotel bathtub. Ron sneaks into her room with champagne. Back home, Jack tries calling her so the kids can talk to her, but Ron answers. He hangs up, leading Jack to think she's having an affair with him. Caroline fends off Ron's attempts and quits her job.

The next day dawns with repair people in the home to fix a broken television and spray for bugs. Joan stops by, and while Jack is in the bathroom, she makes herself at home in their bedroom. Realizing that she wants to sleep with him, he begins running reasons he should not have an affair with her. Caroline arrives home unexpectedly, surprising Joan on the bed, and after a confrontation, she leaves. Caroline takes her place on the bed. Jack, not realizing she is home, comes back to the bedroom. They talk over the misunderstandings that occurred concerning Ron's and Joan's advances and reunite as a stronger couple. Ron stops by, begging Caroline to come back to his company, as the client thinks that only she can properly handle his account. However, she has missed spending time with her children. Jinx also comes begging for Jack to return to work. He had made too many cuts in his design team and is now in danger of losing his job. Alex says something to his father while Jinx is talking and Jinx yells at him, at which point Jack punches Jinx in the face. He accepts his old job on the condition that Larry and Stan join him. On the newly repaired TV, the national commercial Caroline helped produce is being broadcast.



While working at Motown Productions, story editor and struggling producer Lauren Shuler read an article in National Lampoon written by John Hughes, and decided to keep in touch with him. One day Hughes told Shuler about a disastrous experience he had looking after his two children in the absence of his wife, which Shuler found hilarious. After asking if that could make a good movie, she replied that "it sure sounds funny to me". Hughes wrote the film, and flew to Los Angeles to rewrite the script with Shuler. As Hughes had a TV deal with Aaron Spelling, he brought him in as an executive producer. Then the studio executives at Universal Studios were upset that Hughes was working in Chicago instead of Los Angeles, fired him and brought a group of TV writers to remake his script. Then the studio decided to turn it into a feature film instead of a television movie. Shuler, who remained as a producer, declared that while she liked the final product she thought Hughes' original script was better.[1] While Shuler talked to her agent friend Laurie Perlman, Perlman told about "this guy who is really funny" who she represented, Michael Keaton. After meeting Keaton and seeing his screen debut, Night Shift (1982), Shuler decided to send the actor the script of Mr. Mom.[2] Other actors considered for the lead role included Chevy Chase, Michael Douglas, Steve Martin, and John Travolta. In turn Karen Allen, Jane Curtin, Farrah Fawcett, and Sally Field were considered for the role of Caroline before it ultimately went to Terri Garr.


Critical reception[edit]

The film received mixed-to-positive reviews upon its 1983 release. Leonard Maltin gave it 2.5 stars out of 4, stating "pleasant enough rehash of age-old sitcom premise", adding "likable stars make it palatable, but you've seen it all before".[3] Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times similarly gave the film 2 stars out of 4, describing Mr Mom as "a lost opportunity" for resorting to cliches rather than finding humor in the characters as portrayed by the "promising" and talented cast.[4]

It went on to receive generally positive reviews and is currently regarded by many to be one of the best films of 1983. At the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the comedy has an overall rating of 85%.[5] Despite the overall critical acclaim, there were a handful of critics who felt the film's ending was misogynistic. In recent years, with stay at home dads becoming more common, the film has come under fire for its alleged sexism.[6]

Box office[edit]

The film opened to limited release on July 22, 1983, with $947,197, earning the number 13 spot that weekend.[7] Upon its wide release on August 19, 1983, a month later, it opened at number 3 with $4,279,384 behind Easy Money's opening weekend and Risky Business' third.[8] Mr. Mom ended up earning $64 million domestically.[9] Its success led Universal to sign a three-picture deal with Hughes for $30 million.[10] (Those 3 films he would later release for the studio were Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Weird Science.)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Priggé, Steven (2004). Movie Moguls Speak: Interviews with Top Film Producers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. pp. 90–91. ISBN 0-7864-1929-6. 
  2. ^ Interview with Producer Lauren Shuler Donner (Part 1 of 2)
  3. ^ Martin, Leonard (2006). Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide. Signet Books. p. 879. ISBN 0-451-21265-7. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Mr. Mom - Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  6. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for July 22-24, 1983". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-12-15. 
  8. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for August 19-21, 1983". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-12-15. 
  9. ^ Mr. Mom at Box Office Mojo
  10. ^ Lallch, Richard (January 1993). "Big Baby". Spy: 77. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 

External links[edit]