Mr. Mom (1983)

PG | 91 mins | Comedy | 22 July 1983

Director:

Stan Dragoti

Writer:

John Hughes

Cinematographer:

Victor J. Kemper

Editor:

Patrick Kennedy

Production Designer:

Alfred Sweeney

Production Company:

Sherwood Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The 7 Jan 1983 DV announced that principal photography would begin 17 Jan 1983 in Los Angeles, CA, with an additional week of filming in Detroit, MI. The project was developed by television producer Aaron Spelling, and filmed by Sherwood Productions, which outbid two other companies for the contract. Mr. Mom was Sherwood’s first picture made under company president David Begelman.
       According to production notes in AMPAS files, Mr. Mom was originally conceived by producer Lynn Loring, a former actress who left the entertainment industry to raise a family, but returned to work when her husband became unemployed. Screenwriter John Hughes had a similar experience: After leaving the advertising field in the 1970s, Hughes raised two children while his wife provided the family’s income. Because the U.S. was experiencing an economic recession, unemployment was on the rise and housewives were often compelled to find work to support their husbands as well as their children. Loring believed the film reflected this change in the American family dynamic, expecting the reversal of gender roles to become more common. However, the 7 Nov 1983 CSM disputed this opinion, citing a study by sociologists Philip Blumstein and Pepper Schwartz, which demonstrated that only four out of the more than 3,600 husbands surveyed were full-time housekeepers. The study also emphasized a general aversion to housework among American males, leaving women to perform the majority of such tasks, even in two-income families.
       Production notes stated that Mr. Mom marked actress Ann Jillian’s return to theatrical films after a nearly twenty-year absence. It also ... More Less

The 7 Jan 1983 DV announced that principal photography would begin 17 Jan 1983 in Los Angeles, CA, with an additional week of filming in Detroit, MI. The project was developed by television producer Aaron Spelling, and filmed by Sherwood Productions, which outbid two other companies for the contract. Mr. Mom was Sherwood’s first picture made under company president David Begelman.
       According to production notes in AMPAS files, Mr. Mom was originally conceived by producer Lynn Loring, a former actress who left the entertainment industry to raise a family, but returned to work when her husband became unemployed. Screenwriter John Hughes had a similar experience: After leaving the advertising field in the 1970s, Hughes raised two children while his wife provided the family’s income. Because the U.S. was experiencing an economic recession, unemployment was on the rise and housewives were often compelled to find work to support their husbands as well as their children. Loring believed the film reflected this change in the American family dynamic, expecting the reversal of gender roles to become more common. However, the 7 Nov 1983 CSM disputed this opinion, citing a study by sociologists Philip Blumstein and Pepper Schwartz, which demonstrated that only four out of the more than 3,600 husbands surveyed were full-time housekeepers. The study also emphasized a general aversion to housework among American males, leaving women to perform the majority of such tasks, even in two-income families.
       Production notes stated that Mr. Mom marked actress Ann Jillian’s return to theatrical films after a nearly twenty-year absence. It also marked the U.S. screen debut of British actress Carolyn Seymour, as reported in the 17 Mar 1983 DV.
       Distributor Twentieth Century-Fox held an exclusive preview screening on 15 Jul 1983 at the company’s Darryl F. Zanuck Theatre in West Los Angeles. According to studio press releases, Mr. Mom opened 22 Jul 1983 in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, CA, and Phoenix, AZ. Other openings in fifty-six markets were planned over the next four weeks. On 20 Aug 1983, LAHExam announced the picture’s impending national release, based on its success on the West Coast.
       Reviews were negative, with several anticipating a limited theatrical run, while asserting that much of the humor was derived from television comedies of the 1950s.
       The 3 Oct 1983 HR reported that Mr. Mom earned over $40 million in its first month, and was the highest grossing film over the Labor Day weekend in early Sep 1983. Director Stan Dragoti called the production a “calculated risk,” anticipating the appeal of a domestic comedy toward the end of a summer dominated by science fiction and action films. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Christian Science Monitor
7 Nov 1983.
---
Daily Variety
7 Jan 1983.
---
Daily Variety
17 Mar 1983.
---
Daily Variety
19 Sep 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 1983
p. 3, 41.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jun 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Oct 1983
p. 3.
LAHExam
20 Aug 1983.
---
Los Angeles Times
22 Jul 1983
p. 13.
New York Times
26 Aug 1983
p. 8.
Variety
20 Jul 1983
p. 19.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Aaron Spelling Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Gaffer
Key grip
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Prop master
Const coord
COSTUMES
Cost des for Ms. Garr
Men's costumer
Women's costumer
SOUND
Prod mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd eff
Sd eff ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Unit pub
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Prod accountant
Loc mgr
Asst to exec prod
Secy to prod
Secy to Mr. Dragoti
Prod asst
STAND INS
Stunt contestant
Stunt contestant
Stunt double
Stunt double
Stunt double
Stunt double
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 July 1983
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 22 July 1983
New York opening: 26 August 1983
Production Date:
began 17 January 1983 in Los Angeles, CA, and Detroit, MI
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Col by Metrocolor®
Lenses
Lenses & Panaflex® Camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
91
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27084
SYNOPSIS

Day begins in Detroit, Michigan, as Caroline Butler wakes her husband, Jack, and their children, Alex, Kenny, and Megan. After breakfast, Jack, an engineer for an automobile company, carpools to work with fellow coworkers Larry and Stan, and supervisor Jinx Latham, all of whom are concerned about rumored layoffs among their ranks. Shortly after arriving, Jinx lays off the three engineers, and despite his apologies and promises of a generous severance package, all feel betrayed. When Jack returns home, Caroline suggests they both seek new employment. Jack is skeptical and bets her one dollar he will find work before she does, but Caroline wins, securing a position at the Richardson-Frankel advertising agency. She leaves for her first day on the job with Jack’s assurance that he can manage the household in her absence. Caroline’s first assignment is to observe a meeting in which company president Ron Richardson and his account executives create a new advertising campaign for Schooner tuna. When no agreement is reached, Ron asks Caroline’s opinion, and she criticizes the various campaign proposals for their lack of appeal to housewives. Ron is impressed with Caroline’s fresh perspective and invites her to join him on his private jet for a visit to the Schooner plant the next day. Meanwhile, Jack encounters difficulties in a supermarket, misplacing both Kenny and Megan as he causes mishaps around the store. He also meets attractive divorcee Joan Hampton, who informs her friend, Annette, of her plans to break up the Butlers’ marriage. In the morning, Ron arrives by limousine to take Caroline to the airport. Jack feels threatened and asserts ... +


Day begins in Detroit, Michigan, as Caroline Butler wakes her husband, Jack, and their children, Alex, Kenny, and Megan. After breakfast, Jack, an engineer for an automobile company, carpools to work with fellow coworkers Larry and Stan, and supervisor Jinx Latham, all of whom are concerned about rumored layoffs among their ranks. Shortly after arriving, Jinx lays off the three engineers, and despite his apologies and promises of a generous severance package, all feel betrayed. When Jack returns home, Caroline suggests they both seek new employment. Jack is skeptical and bets her one dollar he will find work before she does, but Caroline wins, securing a position at the Richardson-Frankel advertising agency. She leaves for her first day on the job with Jack’s assurance that he can manage the household in her absence. Caroline’s first assignment is to observe a meeting in which company president Ron Richardson and his account executives create a new advertising campaign for Schooner tuna. When no agreement is reached, Ron asks Caroline’s opinion, and she criticizes the various campaign proposals for their lack of appeal to housewives. Ron is impressed with Caroline’s fresh perspective and invites her to join him on his private jet for a visit to the Schooner plant the next day. Meanwhile, Jack encounters difficulties in a supermarket, misplacing both Kenny and Megan as he causes mishaps around the store. He also meets attractive divorcee Joan Hampton, who informs her friend, Annette, of her plans to break up the Butlers’ marriage. In the morning, Ron arrives by limousine to take Caroline to the airport. Jack feels threatened and asserts his masculinity by donning overalls and carrying a chainsaw, but Ron sees through the pretense. Left to manage the house on his own, Jack struggles with an overloaded washing machine, a runaway vacuum cleaner, and Megan’s diarrhea. Later, while waiting for a job interview, Jack realizes his situation is not unique as he listens to two other “househusbands” as they swap recipes. Caroline takes her family to a company picnic at Ron’s estate, where Jack competes against Ron and his executives in a race through an obstacle course. As he approaches the finish line, Jack feigns an injury and allows Ron to win so as not to jeopardize Caroline’s job. Jack becomes resigned to unemployment, and as his self-esteem erodes, he neglects his home as well as himself, spending much of his time drinking beer, watching daytime dramas on television, and playing poker with Joan, Annette, and other single mothers. Caroline resents Jack’s attitude, arguing that she took pride in her role as a full-time parent. The next day, Jack has a daydream in which he is seduced by Joan and shot by a jealous Caroline, who leaves him for Ron. Determined to save his marriage, Jack dedicates himself to his household duties and wins back his wife’s respect. At the agency, Caroline conceives a campaign for Schooner tuna, in which company president Howard Humphries publicly announces a fifty percent price reduction as a concession to families who are struggling in the current depressed economy. Humphries approves, demanding that Ron place Caroline in charge of his account. On Halloween, Caroline travels to Los Angeles, California, for the filming of Humphries’ announcement, despite protests from Jack and the children. While Caroline is away, Jack is offered a chance to resume his career if he testifies before a review board, which is investigating Jinx’s mismanagement of company funds. Unable to find a babysitter, Jack brings the children to the meeting, and his statement is interrupted by Megan’s urgent need for a clean diaper. That evening, Joan and Annette take Jack to dinner, then to a male strip club as consolation for his lost opportunity. In Caroline’s Los Angeles hotel room, Ron tries to seduce her with a romantic dinner. He also intercepts a telephone call from Jack, who concludes that his wife is having an affair and breaks the television in a fit of anger. In retaliation, Caroline punches Ron in the nose and quits her job. In Detroit, Jack works through his anger by painting the house, while repairwoman Doris fixes the television, and Bert, the exterminator, fumigates the basement. Aware that Caroline is out of town, Joan corners Jack in the bedroom, but he remains faithful to his wife. Caroline enters and orders Joan out, then accuses her husband of infidelity. The argument is cut short by the arrival of Jinx, who begs Jack to return to work. Ron appears moments later, asking Caroline to return to her job. Doris and Bert negotiate new contracts for the couple, while Jack, Caroline, and the children celebrate their good fortune. Meanwhile, Humphries appears on television, announcing Schooner tuna’s new low price. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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