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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish, Dutch, English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, French - Hearing Impaired, Spanish - Hearing Impaired
  Extras

    Man of the House

    Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 93 mins . G . PAL

      Feature
    Contract

    Back when I was living at home, if my mum had brought home a stepfather to live with us, I would have been pretty upset, not least because my parents are still married and there wouldnít have been enough space at the table for another person.

    Such is the dilemma faced by little sh... er... child, Ben (Jonathon Taylor Thomas) when his mum (Farrah Fawcett) decides itís time for her boyfriend Jack (Chevy Chase) to move in with them. Suddenly, all the loving mom and son moments shared between her and Ben such as gathering shells, rollerblading, cooking rabbit stews, dressing up as police and arresting hookers - you know the kind of stuff - goes out the window as the family dynamic expands to include a new guy in their home life.

    Well meaning Jack tries his best to endear himself to Ben, but to no avail. He screws up the breakfast arrangements, has to sleep on the couch and ships all his crap into the closet space where Ben had until then kept his own junk. Ben has a heart of cold cold steel towards Jack, and is determined to make life a misery for him, and who knows, maybe even make the couple split. Like I said, clearly Ben is a little sh... er... child.

    Unfortunately for the audience, the one redeeming feature of this little film, Chevy Chase, is utilised far from his bumbling best here. His role is sidelined to that of the well meaning boyfriend/stepdad, with empty characterisation and barely a guffaw to his name. For a Chase role, this is a sin, and unfortunately something that has plagued his roles since the demise of the Vacation series.

    Farrah, well, she walks and she talks and she breathes, but she also looks like she needs a good feed and a few days of sleep. The glamourpuss is gone and a slightly disheveled blonde aging ex-hippy is in its place. Empty walk in the park roles like this one might have helped pay her therapist bills, but they were hardly going to get her noticed again. Sheíll forever be famous for being an ex-pinup and a drugged-out loon in later life.

    Ben has nothing that will endear him to watching parents. He is played with such sulking one dimensionality by Jonathon Taylor Thomas that itís a wonder a gust of wind on set didnít blow him off the stage and over a fence. The kid could never do anything approaching acting on Home Improvement, and thereís no risk that roles such as Ben would change the perception of his paper-thin talent any. Harsh words, I know, but when you compare his performance here with other child actors in Disney features Iíve favourably reviewed (such as Mia Thermoloupoloupolos in The Princess Diaries for example), itís obvious that the onus was on Thomas to bring in the teen Home Improvement audience.

    Like the recently reviewed First Kid, this isnít a patch on the quality of more recent fare from Disney, most of which Iíve enjoyed immensely and would recommend far more eagerly than this.

      Video
    Contract

    This looks nice, itís got nice colours, nice detail, nice scenes, itís all just nice. Nothing wowed me with its marvellousness, but then nothing disappointed me either which is just as important. Like many similar films from this stable it has that particular warm look to colours, where hues are slightly more saturated. You know it doesnít look 100% right all of the time, but itís still easy on the eyes. Should your ten year old kid ask about the clarity of the print, just give him/her a slap in the head and tell them that I said itís 99.9% clear and thereís nothing to fret about and to stop bugging me about stupid boring stuff like film artefacts. It looks better than it would if shown on television on a Sunday afternoon, which is where it belongs.

      Audio
    Contract

    The level in the rear channels is low enough to make you think theyíre not there for everything but about one minute in this film. I got up, went over to them, put my ear up against the speakers, and yes, there was just the faintest buzz coming from them, but they were so faint as to be useless really. The one or two moments in the story that called out for a little giddy up from the back was met with this apathy unless you really focused on it hard. Is this a problem? Not really. The story doesnít call for much more than clear vocals, and this it has in abundance, but there is definitely a feeling that the experience is very frontal. In a more adult oriented film this might result in a knock down of a point or three, but for a family flick such as this, I can let it pass. Do many kids even know what those back speakers are for? Do many adults, for that matter?

      Extras
    Contract

    Nada. Kids donít deserve bonus features.

      Overall  
    Contract

    Unless this holds a special place in your heart (and I would have to ask ďWhy? Are you a dork or something?Ē) then I canít see any reason to rent/try/buy this DVD. Sure, the DVD scrubs up relatively fine for the content even if it is devoid of bonus padding, but even so Iíd still recommend you watch The Princess Diaries or Max Keebleís Big Move instead, both of which are much more entertaining family flicks.


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      And I quote...
    "..this isnít a patch on the quality of more recent fare from Disney.. "
    - Vince Carrozza
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS730P
    • TV:
          Philips 55PP8620
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB1070
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale WH-2
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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