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Sunday, October 2, 2011

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 71 - Junior (1994)

Another in the “I Would Have Loved To Attend The Pitch Meeting” category, Junior is the story of a doctor (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who, working with a colleague (Danny DeVito), takes a drug that allows HIM to become pregnant.  Putting aside the fact that, even if they did manage to fertilize an egg and plant it in a male, the fetus growing inside would die almost immediately (and would become a very dangerous health risk to the carrier) because the MALE ANATOMY IS NOT EQUIPPED TO CARRY A FREAKING CHILD!!!!!!  (ahem) ...this is a bad movie with a failed premise and a bad screenplay and a dreadful performance by its star.

I don’t know how they thought this would work.  I really don’t know what to say about this one.  I honestly think they wanted to make a movie about a macho man (in this case the unfortunate Arnold Schwarzenegger) who is forced to deal with the biological emotional changes that go along with pregnancy, the only problem is instead of exploring these things the movie just sort of has Arnold act like a sissy for most of the film.  They tried this again (only not to this extreme) with What Women Want, which still sucked, but at least it didn’t insult its audience’s intelligence like Junior did, and Mel Gibson’s character remained himself, he just began to change his outlook on the opposite sex.  

This goes to the ongoing trend, ever since the success of Tootsie, to emasculate male actors.  You can blame political correctness or whatever, but I blame Hollywood’s bandwagon mentality.  It seemed like the studios were on a mission to make jokes out of the male action stars of the 80’s by casting them in really bad movies where they play men who are either incapable of getting things right or are constantly faced with problems men wouldn’t otherwise deal with.  There is nothing fundamentally wrong with a film like this, but it has never been executed well (except for Tootise of course).  The problem is a vast majority of these films go for the most predictable jokes and never really explore any of the experiences of living the life of the opposite sex maturely as Tootsie did so well.  

Now, forgetting, for a moment, the utter absurdity of Junior’s plot, the screenplay is bad and the acting is WORSE, relying on pratfalls, slapstick humor and a horrifying dream sequence that haunts me to this day that all adds up to make this a disaster.  Ivan Reitman (Who directed the two male leads a few years earlier in Twins) really doesn’t have a good track record either, and I think (with the exception of the first Ghostbusters.  Classic.) he is one of the more consistently bad directors working in Hollywood.  I think his strange sense of whimsy that is his trademark aided in this one going very, very badly; the screenplay and Schwarzenegger’s bad acting takes the rest of the blame.  Easily.

I would also like to make an observation.  It seems that almost every movie that has the actors making that "uh-oh" or "what is going on here?!" face on the poster is really, really bad. Junior has what is easily one of the worst movie posters of all time, just look at the stupid look on Schwarzenegger's face.  He looks like he just realized what he was doing to his career as they were taking the picture.

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