“Man of the House” (2005)

Man of the HouseI’m not sure what possessed Tommy Lee Jones to make this movie, but I’m glad he did. Most reviews out there seem to be mildly complimentary at best, most are very negative. It’s not Apocalypse Now, but its a fun and well made movie.

The basic premise is that Jones is a Texas Ranger who must protect five cheerleaders who witnessed a murder. At their house on campus. Yup – no surprises about what’s coming. The girls represent every stereotype you’d expect – except there’s no Asian girl. And the clothes they wear are usually quite revealing. And there’s the expected kind of “character growth”. There aren’t any surprises. Yet somehow this is a movie you don’t mind watching again.

OK, lets start with the cast. Although Jones is a serious actor, he has a great flair for comedy. His dead-pan delivery is on par with Bob Newhart, if Newhart had a Texas accent. He has great timing and delivery. The supporting cast of cops and robbers are mostly faces you recognize from elsewhere, incliding R. Lee Ermey as Jones’ superior.

Man of the House - the GirlsThe girls are beyond “cute.” They’re gorgeous. And they’re fit. A lot of “cheerleader” movies have female leads which don’t look strong enough to be doing the stunts that currently are done on the field. There’s a short on the DVD which shows that these girls all had to go to a Chearleader Camp and learn the moves – none had ever done this stuff before, and one was afraid of heights.

They’re all good actresses and carry their admitedly stereotyped roles off well. They’re sexy without being tawdry.

One of the best things I liked about this movie is that it wasn’t appologetic or pandering as far as the girls being cheerleaders. Jones’ character didn’t approve, but he still treated them like ladies. Cheerleading is what they did, simple.

Another thing you may notice is that there’s no swearing in this movie. Or sex. Or shower scenes. Another set of departures from the normal movie of the genre. It’s a very clean and, dare I say, wholesome movie. About cheerleaders and a Texas Ranger. Go figure.

The chemistry between Jones and the girls is great. They take his sarcasm and throw it back at him. I think that its this aspect which makes the film so watchable – you really like watching these people.

OK, so this movie sure as hell won’t win awards. And most people will write it off as fluff. But its a fun movie with good acting; bright, great looking girls; and it doesn’t play dumb. For something fun to watch on a Sunday night, this is a good choice.