Does 'Mr. Mom' belong on the list of funniest movie dads?

161313__mrmom_lPopWatch intern Kate Sullivan calls Susman to the carpet over his shocking exclusion of Michael Keaton in Mr. Mom from his list of funniest movie dads:

KS: So, Gary, we got a passionate letter from an outraged reader demanding to know why you slighted Mr. Mom in your roundup of funny dads… and, I have to say, I think the man has a point. I’m not saying every movie with a parental title in the title should make it — I’m not asking you to tack on Ghost Dad — but Big Daddy makes it and Mr. Mom doesn’t? Meet the Fockers is funnier than Mr. Mom?

Susman: Well, let’s see, I laughed several times during both of those movies (and hated myself for it), but not once during Mr. Mom. And I love Michael Keaton, but this movie domesticated (in the most pejorative and literal sense of the word) all the funny out of him.

KS: What?! Keaton has a heartwarming dad-itude in Mr. Mom.

Susman: Heartwarming, yes. Funny, no. My real objection to Mr. Mom is its blind swallowing of countless Reagan-era cliches about gender relations and workplace roles, without really challenging any of them. Accepting the status quo (or reaffirming it at the end of the movie, which amounts to the same thing) isn’t all that funny. Instead, it just made the world safer for other guys-who-are-inept-at-changing-diapers movies, like the Three Men and a Baby films.

KS: I think Keaton worked with what he had and he came off okay — and his work is definitely funnier than some of the dads’ we’re given today — in Cheaper by the Dozen, for example.

Susman: I’ll grant you that the dads in movies like Cheaper by the Dozen are even less funny. I’m not saying every Keaton performance has to be as manic or brilliiant as Night Shift or Beetlejuice, but I’m sorry he got turned into a Cheaper by the Dozen dad so early in his career.

KS: Is it fair to blame Mr. Mom for Herbie: Fully Loaded?

Susman: No, but it would be a lot harder to accept him in that role (or in First Daughter) if he hadn’t already made Mr. Mom.

KS: I just don’t put Mr. Mom on the same level as Jack Frost or First Daughter. I think it’s a lot funnier than those. Don’t attach the sins of the father in First Daughter to the father in Mr. Mom because I can assure he is not the same man.

addCredit(“Mr. Mom: Kobal Collection”)


Comments (23 total) Add your comment
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  • Vicki

    Dude, Mr. Mom is HELLA funny! When he’s trying to get Kenny to give him the woobie?? And when he tells Teri Garr he HEARD the champagne chilling in the background?? And when he makes the rice noodles? Come on! That ish is hilarious! Not only should he be included in the Top 10 Funniest Dads list, but the movie should be in the Top 10 Movies to Watch When You’re Home Sick. It’s a classic.

  • Jackie

    Michael Keaton should be included as one of the funniest movie Dads, I still laugh my butt off when I watch it for old times sake!!!

  • ceej

    even tho’ i agree with the gary on this one, i think mr. mom should be on the list anyway. but if you have to get rid of one of the other dads, it’d would be a tough call. make it an 11-dad list, gar!
    honestly, i think the funniest dad should be ferris’s dad from ‘ferris beuler’…he just has no clue! ‘Wrap a hot towel around your head, son…. and then…make yourself some soup.’ Classic!
    By the way, the funniest line from Indiana Jones was when Indiana whines about how Jones Sr never paid attention to him, Sean Connery says with sincere incredulity, “You weren’t interesting!” A close second: Indy: “How’d you know she was a Nazi?” Jones Sr: “She talks in her sleep.”

  • Chris

    What’s with the polita-crit? You might as well take Clark Gable to task for glorfiying Southern rebels. It’s “Mr. Mom”, dude, not a political screed. Take the stick out and relax.
    Robin Williams’ mincing stereotype? Dustin Hoffman degrading a distinguished career in Fokkers? Parenthood by the Dozen? Adam friggin’ Sandler? Keaton is about 10^25 times funnier than Adam Sandler.

  • Jill

    OH MY… Keaton watching ‘The Young and the Restless’… trying to figure out whether Victor’s vasectomy ‘took’ …or whether Nicki was carrying Kevin’s child…all while re-heating his child’s grilled cheese with the iron. Keaton fighting with the washing machine and the popcorn machine, and holding a ‘coupon poker’ game with the neighorhood housewives. Keaton…losing the ‘company Olympics’ to his wife’s boss just to help her keep her job…. Keaton helping his son overcome his blanket addiction. It’s a CLASSIC. When it comes on cable, I can’t turn it off. I love it!

  • cara

    “South to drop off, north to pick up, moron!”
    This movie (and Michael Keaton in it) is hilarious. I can quote dozens of line from it, almost as many as Caddy Shack. It should DEFINITELY be on the list!

  • Liz

    Michael Keaton’s role in Mr. Mom is definitely funnier than say Dustin Hoffman in Meet the Fockers. Heck, I think Robert DeNiro’s role in Meet the Parents is funnier than Dustin Hoffman’s role.
    Also, in my opinion, Steve Martin’s role in Father of the Bride should have been on the list instead of his role in Parenthood.

  • Vicki

    And who can forget Keaton holding up the baby to the hand dryer in the bathroom? Dude that movie is hilarious. Making everything a political statement is causing everyone to lose their sense of humor. Can’t things just be funny because they are!

  • Miles

    I’m guessing this movie was before my time. But someone neglected to tell me about it. The comments though make it sound good, must find a dvd.

  • ftworthbabeftworthbabe

    “Mr Mom” should definitely be on the list!! “Meet the Parents” or “Meet the Fockers” are totally not in the same league!! And having done private duty nursing where I have had to watch the same movies over and over and over, I will take Micheal Keaton over Dustin Hoffman or Robert De Niro ANY DAY!!! I can watch “Mr Mom” and recite the dialogue and still enjoy it more. It is consistently funny– the other two show you all the funny stuff in the previews, no need to watch the movie.

  • donner

    Oh My God! You don’t laugh at ‘220, 221, whatever it takes’? We quote that do this day! We also quote ‘woobie’ and ‘Doing it the Jack Butler Method’ when we screw up something…I love this movie, and it WAS made in the 80’s when women were still having problems in the boardroom…get a life dude, you are missing out…Go listen to the champagne chilling in the background…

  • jen

    This movie is just timeless. I believe it’s one of Keaton’s best – granted not as good as Beetlejuice, but it’s a different kind of movie. This movie really turned me on to Keaton and his acting. It’s one of the movies that I won’t turn off when it comes on t.v., no matter how many times I’ve seen it. I love when Jack walks into the house with his overalls on, revving up the chainsaw in front of Ron. He then asks him if he wants a beer. Ron replies: It’s 7 o’clock in the morning. Jack: Scotch? It’s just Keaton at his finest. This is the role that Adam Sandler and Steve Martin should have inspired to be like in their respective movies.

  • Ned

    I have to agree, it wasn’t a very funny movie, especially considering it had Michael Keaton and Teri Garr in it, so much wasted talent. So no, it didn’t deserve to be on the list.

  • Toni T.


  • Kimmie G

    Actually, this question is for Kate, your intern. Is this the Kate Sullivan who also interned at ID magazine in Newton, Mass. a couple years ago? If so, this is Kimberly, one of the editors on the magazine! E-mail me and let me know how you’re doing!

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