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Tommy Lee Jones stars in a movie about cheerleaders and criminals; a movie that is bound together by rotten plot devices, clunky dialogue and downright cornball scripting. No, this is not how we ought to see Mr. Jones – the man with great acting talent and, to be perfectly blunt, the only one good thing about this entire movie. Man of the House is trite entertainment, and with such a limited appeal it’s pretty easy to see how it bombed at the box office.

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Film
Texas Ranger Ronald Sharp (Jones) gets the assignment he will not soon forget; he must protect a single witness to ensure a drug dealing kingpin is brought to justice. But his assignment gets a shade or two gloomier; the witness is part of the Texas University cheerleading team and, sadly for him, he must adopt the position of their coach and move in with them to make his cover complete. Suffice to say, the clash of characters couldn’t be more obvious. Sharp is, well, just that; he’s a tough, hard-edged solider-like guy that despises giggling teenage girls and anything pink. Unfortunately for him, he has a lot of them to endure.

Man of the House isn’t a good movie. The story and concept has been used so many times this movie literally stinks of the recycle bin. Nothing new or inventive has been brought to the table and the results speak for themselves. Jones is good, as always, but he is the only reason this film wasn’t turned off sooner. It is thanks to his stony, expressionless face and deadpan comedy that kept me watching; not much of a legit reason really is it? Disney’s The Pacifier – which this film is largely similar to – was more entertaining on the whole, and that almost bored me to tears. Tommy Lee Jones or not, I cannot recommend this film. Just pretend it doesn’t exist and your lives might be a smidgen brighter.

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Video
The film might stink up the place, but the video side of things is pretty good. Grain and artefacts are hardly present on this transfer, and the colours and black levels are solid. Everything is sharp and accurate, not least the lighter scenes. Darker ones are also handled well, with plenty of crisp, sharp and highly detailed locales throughout. In saying that the film itself is pretty drab and lifeless in its cinematography and production design, but that doesn’t stop the DVD from looking quite nifty.

Audio
The only soundtrack on offer here is that of a Dolby Digital 5.1 score that sounds almost as good as the image looks. Sound is pretty full and detailed, with plenty of variation in the audio range. The sub gets a healthy workout from time to time, and the directional speakers see some action too. Dialogue though the centre channel is pretty crisp and audible, though sadly the quality of that dialogue leaves much to be desired. On the whole, the DD 5.1 track is a good, but not great sounding one that serves its purpose well.

Extras
Three measly features occupy this single disc release and none of them are even remotely interesting. ‘Cheer Camp’ is a five minute bore-fest showing how the girls practised their routine and choreography. Maybe if it had been a little more involving and a little longer would it have caught my attention, but it was a badly made and tiresome feature. ‘The Making of Man of the House’ runs for just ten minutes and is about as generic as a ‘making of’ feature could possibly be. Finally, there are two trailers for Bewitched and Men in Black II, both of which are features from Sony.

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Overall
Man of the House wasn’t my cup of tea, and personally I can’t see it latching onto a significant new audience on DVD either. It flopped at the cinema, and I highly doubt it will thunder into the charts on the digital platform. Maybe if you see it on the tube one day and there really isn’t anything else to watch, only then would I recommend it to you. Of course, if there is a wall to stare at with some semi-dry paint, I would think that might be slightly more interesting that an hour and a half of this. Sorry Sony, I love ya and everything, but this movie doesn’t cut it.


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