As the “Michael Keaton comeback” narrative revs up in advance of Keaton’s upcoming star-vehicle Birdman, it’s worth taking a few moments to remember exactly what the former A-list star is coming back to. In the 1980s—oddly, right up to the moment to when he landed his biggest role, in the blockbuster Batman—Keaton was a reliable presence in movie comedies, typically elevating so-so material with his everyman appeal and quick wit. The 1983 domestic comedy Mr. Mom is, in nearly every way, embarrassingly dated. John Hughes’ screenplay (directed by the doggedly middling Stan Dragoti) begins, as a lot of Hughes scripts do, from a relatable place of middle-class panic, as a suburban family breadwinner (Keaton) loses his job and has to take over cooking, cleaning, and childcare after his wife (played by Teri Garr) gets a cushy job. From there, Mr. Mom ticks off the boxes from the master-list of sexist clichés: from a man being baffled by the simple domestic chores that he should’ve learned decades ago to a man coming up with a way to do those jobs better than any woman ever has. And yet Mr. Mom is still a highly likable film, thanks largely to Michael Keaton, who balances his character perfectly, embodying both the well-meaning doofus and the undisguisedly bitter smart-ass. Mr. Mom airs on Epix Drive-In at 11:45 p.m. Eastern.
October 07, 2014 newsreel