Mr. Nanny (1993) — Hulk Hogan trades his dignity for laughs

“This fearless giant is cowering because of two little innocent children!”

Justin’s rating: Is the sequel Mr. Unemployed?

Justin’s review: Considering that WWE wrestling is far more about entertainment than actual competitive sport, I guess I can understand why a lot of wrestlers try their hand at acting sooner or later. From this group, Hulk Hogan was enormously popular in the ’80s and ’90s and sought to leverage that into a budding film career. I guess his thing was “big beefy guy taking mildly amusing roles,” because he started popping up in places like Suburban Commando, Santa with Muscles, and today’s entry, Mr. Nanny.

Hogan stars as Sean Armstrong (no expense was spared in giving him an appropriate name), an ex-wrestler who agrees to take up a bodyguard gig watching two bratty children of some tech inventor. Yes, the 1990s certainly was rich in bodyguard tales, especially involving Big Beefy Guys. Maybe their agents looked at them and this was the only role that remotely came to mind, I dunno.

Because this took place in a post-Home Alone era, the kids are of the variety that straight-up try to murder their new bodyguard while their dad ineffectually scolds them to “play nice.” As parents do when their children are committing jailable crimes. So we have a whole lot of HA-ha moments with Hulk Hogan getting tortured by booby traps until, pow, he’s had enough, and he gets their respect, darn it! One or two scenes later and they love him and Mr. Nanny is what’s going to bring this dysfunctional family back together. Hooray!

I find it hard getting behind movies like these, because the humor is primarily derived by emasculating the lead character. Hogan isn’t my favorite actor, but he’s obviously terrified to be in a movie and you want everyone to be nice to him. So saddling him with two sadistic children and a wisp of a parental figure is just cruel.

Obviously, this movie was made entirely for the delight of kids just as sick and twisted as the two children up on the screen. I get it. I used to be a kid at one point, and I found it secretly delightful to see adults get their comeuppance at the hands of those like me. But the thing is, that really only works when it’s a character who deserves to be electrocuted, crushed, and broken. When it’s a nice if out-of-his-depths ex-wrestler who is only trying to protect your very well-being, then it’s just a jerk thing to do.

When you find yourself in the midst of a movie that’s aggressively unlikable, you take your entertainment wherever you can get it. In Mr. Nanny, that’s only in two places. The first was with the villain, a bombastically angry guy who, for whatever reason, has a metal skullcap. Which, I think we’ll all agree, isn’t something we see that often. There’s a really implausible connection between the hero and villain that only came about by a screenwriter’s fervent desire to tie the entire cast’s backstories together.

The second was the performance of the cook, who sticks out as the only actor here who has any comedic timing. I genuinely looked forward to her scenes, although they were all too infrequent as this movie wasn’t titled Mrs. Baker. And George Jefferson was naturally amazing as you might expect.

Unfortunately, all that wasn’t enough to overcome what is a thin and unlikable movie for me. Mr. Nanny is a hard skip, unless you really need it to fill in the schedule for a Hulk Hogan movie marathon.

Didja notice?

  • Slow-mo, freeze frame dream flashbacks
  • Did… did that guy just throw a dog into the ocean? Was that even scripted?
  • I approve of the beatdown with the parking lot arm thingie
  • Armstrong playing with the missile, hee
  • The nanny doing a running-dive into the fountain was a pretty great introduction
  • What kind of portable fax device is that?
  • The son listens to death metal for some reason?
  • Hogan’s ADR is so off in pretty much every scene
  • Exercise bikes have a “coronary” setting
  • Budding psychopaths read “Unusual Weapons of the Inquisition” before bedtime
  • OK the ejection seat was pretty funny
  • As was Thanatos’ hair in the flashback

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