Junior – 2 out of 5
If you keep up with my blog and check in regularly with my reviews (no one does, I’m clearly talking hypothetically here), since the Christmas season, I’ve been revisiting some of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comedy endeavors from the 90s. The first one was, fitting because it was Christmas time, was Jingle All the Way and then later came Kindergarten Cop. Both of them showed me that I never truly gave Arnold the respect he deserved with his comedic performances and realized he was way, way better than I thought he was. Well, I’ve returned for another revisit of Arnold making with the Ha-Ha’s with Junior.
|Put glasses on them and they are smart. Filmmaking 101.|
After the FDA denies geneticist Dr. Alex Hesse (Schwarzenegger) and OB/GYN Dr. Larry Arbogast (Danny DeVito) the ability to test their new drug that promises to help women from having miscarriages, the two are at an impasse and cannot continue their research. All looks lost but Larry has the crazy idea to test the drug out on Alex. After swiping an egg from fellow geneticist; Dr. Diana Reddin (Emma Thompson), Larry puts the egg in Alex’s body and he begins to take the new drug. They soon learn that their drug is a success and the fetus survives. With this information, they can submit their findings and move on but Alex isn’t ready to give up on this new child and decides he wants to carry it to term.
|Danny DeVito is hilarious but he's a creepy OB/GYN.|
I saw Junior when it first came out because who didn’t want to see Arnold all preggo? The movie didn’t leave any impression on me because I don’t ever remember watching it again in my life. The feature would go on to have a legacy as a famously bad film. Re-watching it all these years later, I can kinda see why. The feature has some fleeting moments and has some elements working in its favor but it’s just not that funny and, honestly, I found it kinda boring.
|"And here's the kid...Nope, sorry, I'm looking at your bowel."|
|I feel like this whole movie was made just to put|
Arnold in a dress.
The movie is essential a dramedy but director Ivan Reitman just can’t seem to balance both the drama and comedy. There is heart to the film but it too often feels too sappy. When you have a story that involves a giant bodybuilder of a man getting pregnant, getting too sappy kinda hurts the overall product. On the other side, the film never quite masters the level its humor needs to be at. Mostly the jokes are hacky bits that show Arnold being too “hormonal” as he’s pregnant and much of it feels like a bad stand-up act from the 80s. The story additionally tries to insert comedy by having Emma Thompson’s character as an accident prone klutzy woman. This is fine in theory (albeit kinda cliché) but her over-the-top goofball antics doesn’t mesh with the rest of the humor so it really feels out of place. To put it bluntly, I really didn’t find anything about this movie funny.
|To Thompson's credit, she's giving her all. It's just the writing that wasn't|
|The horror element though was done very well.|
Okay, so it sounds like I hate this film because I didn’t like the drama or the comedy but I don’t hate it. In fact, there is one thing I really enjoyed about it: Arnold’s performance. The rest of the cast is doing a great job and trying to make the story work but, like my other revisits of Arnold’s stuff; I never realized how great of a performance he is giving. Much like the rest of his career, Arnold isn’t phoning in anything and really giving his all to the role. Even when it’s awful jokes about women being overly sensitive and since he’s now pregnant he’s overly sensitive, Arnold is delivering and making these awful comedic moments a little more bearable. He can’t make them funny (he’s not a miracle worker) but he brings a charm to the scenes and is doing a tremendous job of bringing in a very subdued and nuanced performance as this character.
|This movie is 100% scientific accurate.|
Junior might have been a decent, goofball comedy about a man using an untested fertility drug on himself and then getting pregnant. It’s a premise that, even on paper, feels like a difficult one to pull off because it can easily go off the rails and just be silly. There are also hints that this film could have been a decent dramedy but it’s never quite developed right so it sorta feels sloppy. Aside from the performances, the film didn’t really provide me with much entertainment value.
|I'll end this with the fact this movie featured Christopher Meloni...in a time|
before the internet became obsessed with his butt.