Picks and Pans Review: Junior
Danny DeVito, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pamela Reed, Emma Thompson
For a movie peopled by such a flashy cast and directed by the often extravagant Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters), this biotech comedy is surprisingly calm and quietly amusing.
Schwarzenegger is a researcher at a university-run fertility clinic. He and his partner, DeVito, are developing a fertility drug when the university cancels their project and gives their lab to cryogenics researcher Thompson. To continue the research, Schwarzenegger begins taking the drug to see if he can become pregnant with a fertilized egg implanted in his abdomen.
The experiment works, and Arnold not only becomes pregnant, he also exhibits feminine traits—or at least what writers Kevin Wade and Chris Conrad consider to be feminine traits—weepiness, vanity, volatility, as well as morning sickness and sensitive nipples.
Schwarzenegger ends up at a spa for pregnant women, disguised in a wig and baggy sweaters. While a standard twist is introduced in a budding romance between Schwarzenegger and Thompson, the most fun comes from low-key humor. DeVito, for example, reacts with grim indignation when Schwarzenegger, in a fit of hormone-driven emotion, starts to give him a too intimate hug.
The subtle Reed is a welcome presence, especially because Thompson gives a fidgety, exaggerated performance. Wade and Conrad provide an intriguing twist midway and a sweet, gentle laugh in the last sequence. (PG-13)