Man of the House (2005) / Comedy-Action

MPAA Rated: PG-13 for violence, sexual content, crude humor, and a drug reference
Running Time: 111 min.

Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Archer, Cedric the Entertainer, Brian Van Holt, Shannon Marie Woodward, Christina Milian, Paula Garces, Monica Keena, Kelli Garner, Vanessa Ferlito, R. Lee Ermey
Director: Stephen Herek
Screenplay: Robert Ramsey, Matthew Stone, John J. McLaughlin


Man of the House is a comedy without laughs, and therefore, without a real reason to exist.  It has Tommy Lee Jones (The Missing, The Hunted) playing a crotchety law enforcement officer for the umpteenth time, and that’s just one of many dog-tired attempts to entertain, to little avail.  I’m honestly at a loss how this movie was deemed worthy to make, but I’m guessing that it sounded better in the pitch room than it ended up on the screen. 

“Tommy Lee Jones as a hard-nosed Texas Ranger having to live with a group of college cheerleaders!  The comic possibilities are endless!”

That’s the basic premise of the film, where the cheerleaders have witnessed a murder or a potential witness that was planned to put away a drug lord, making them the next target to get iced.  Jones goes undercover as the assistant cheerleading coach for the University of Texas at Austin, and lives with the girls to ensure that they make it to trial. 

With Tommy Lee Jones being so ingratiating with the material, Man of the House proves to be a hard film to hate outright, but it sure would have been nice if there were some other reasons to watch this for 90 minutes.  There just aren’t any funny gags at all, and even a superfluous appearance from Cedric the Entertainer (Barbershop 2, Intolerable Cruelty) reeks from desperation.  Cheesecake shots of the cheerleaders notwithstanding, this is the kind of crapola that should never be seen outside of a television sitcom, with predictable situations, nonstop clichés, and a plot that has no other purpose than to contrive the “hilarious” premise.  It’s a shame that not a moment of interest occurs for the duration.

All we get is gag after gag of watching the crusty, masculine Tommy Lee have to endure dealing with unadulterated femininity in the most embarrassing of ways possible.  The oldest of jokes are trotted out, from the underwear hanging on the shower curtain rod, to the oft-used gag where a man has to purchase tampons (thankfully, the “price check” joke wasn’t also included).  

The only thing this sitcom is missing is the laugh track, which is unfortunate, since I am curious what parts the creators of this bland excursion consider to be the funny ones.

©2005 Vince Leo