He's big, he's bad, and he's babysitting. He doesn't stand a chance.
Sean Armstrong is a semi-retired wrestler who suffers from post-homoerotic male-bonding related nightmares of grappling with men wearing skintight singlets. In order to help out his financially strapped ex-manager (who once took a bullet for him…the idiot), our strong-armed Sean takes a job as bodyguard to the brats of a Silicon Valley hot shot. Dad is anxious that the insane criminal mastermind, Mr. Thanatos, will harm his children in a bid to steal a valuable microchip. Pops need not have worried. These deranged munchkins are notorious for committing several acts of attempted murder on unsuspecting employees of the household (au pairs in particular), so what kind of threat is a few measly international terrorists? But since they need to practice their guerilla warfare tactics on someone, these unsane urchins conduct several elaborate, pain inducing, and almost permanent damage avoiding "experiments" on their bulked up security beat box. But even with all the torture and torment, Sean's devotion to his friend and partner keeps him on the job…that and the generous workman's compensation benefits. Eventually, our villain kidnaps everyone, fisticuffs break out, and it turns out that along with the technological tidbit, Thanatos has a follicle-based reason for wanting Sean and his manager dead. Right.
Who told Hulk Hogan he could act? Who sat across from him in either an expert or personal capacity and said, "Gee, human genetic and physical oddity, you pretend to be a professional athlete and confuse an entire worshipping nation of Pabst chugging rouge napes that wrestling is a legitimate sport, that matches are not fixed, and that your incredible bulk is due to fine living and proper diet, not horse growth stimulants, so maybe you could strut and fret your hour upon the stage?" Sure, when he's pumped to the max, pecs rippling and pythons protruding proudly, taunting other sweat slicked behemoths in a steroid induced shout about placing them in a double suplex or executing the pile driver (is this starting to sound too gay?), he can be convincing. But when trying to tell the tykes in this film that their neglectful, workaholic Dad loves them, he starts to stammer and sputter like he's on a special episode of Dateline NBC where members of the WCW are confronted with a copy of the cage match plot Bible. He's awkward, motor skills receding along with his hayloft hairline. Just like another highly touted marvel of the modern age, the Titanic, he is a massive piece of biological machinery that appears indestructible, until he is required to emote, walk erect, or breathe without inducing unintentional laughter. Then, just like Achilles' heel or Madonna's vocal range, his inherent thespian weakness is exposed and the iceberg of performance strikes him in the solar plexus. As all hands go down with the script, he's pinned for a three-count.
Honestly, Mr. Nanny is not that awful. It may test your patience and your ability to believe that a person can withstand so much inhuman physical abuse, but it's a generally non-boring, lowest common denominator film. It does suffer from a severe case of movie manic depression though. One minute the kids are scraping the upper layer of dermis off Hulk's rump with rusty meat cleavers, the next everyone's hugging and extolling the virtues of family. When the Three Stooges poke, gouge, and otherwise maim each other, it's all in good clean delirious fun. But for some reason, the faux electrocutions and near brain busting head shots of Mr. Nanny don't provide the same guffaw fodder. Perhaps it's a matter of context. We know the Stooges are bound by their brotherhood to defend as well as destroy each other. Here, the spoiled rotten rugrats just want to inflict massive amounts of bodily pain without a whole lot of rhyme or reason to their rambunctiousness. And they truly succeed. Hogan is jolted, jabbed, jumped, dumped, duped, dyed, folded, spindled, and mutilated in all manner of ingenious, evil ways that even the genetically cloned offspring of Albert Einstein, Squeaky Frome, and the Problem Child could never have imagined or created. Any normal guardian ad litem would have called child protective services, the police, and various members of the Taliban to read these juvenile hooligans the personal responsibility riot act. But no, they get to scar and scorch the innocent in the name of parental neglect. And this isn't even a main plot point. It is totally ancillary to a whole espionage/mad criminal genius/kidnapping/Bill Gates type deal where criminals want specialized technology and aren't willing to wait for the Hong Kong knockoff to get it. And then, when there is no other place for the movie to go, it de-evolves into a series of elongated fist fights between Hogan and several of the bad guys, with the incredible mountain of muscle getting his wontons handed to him by men of substantially smaller build.
New Line does everything is its producing power to make this DVD something other than a personal career detour for all parties involved. First, they offer a really nice transfer, with excellent sharpness and color and only minimal, minor artifacting. You have a choice between widescreen (preferred) and full screen (which is very badly framed and compressed). Then there is the Dolby Digital Surround, in either stereo or 5.1. Both are very good. Finally, there is an intriguing DVD game called Pick That Flick, an interactive challenge where the viewer tries to match names with screen shots from various New Line films and product. Unfortunately, unless you remember what the decrepit outhouse looked like in a two-second pan of the background in Surf Ninjas, you may be stumped more times than correct. It is safe to say that not even a digital version of Green Ghost could convince some people to give this over muscled mess a spin in the player. While Mr. Nanny is innocuous, tolerable fun, its just too bad that the filmmaker didn't go all the way and recreate a Stooge like family entertainment featuring three brawny titans slapping and tickling each other. I am sure Haystacks Calhoun and Dusty Rhodes had nothing better to do.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Studio: New Line
• Pick a Flick Interactive Game
Review content copyright © 2002 Bill Gibron; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.