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Film review: Mr. Nanny

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 13 1993 12:00 a.m. MDT

The Hulkster is back, now billed as Terry "Hulk" Hogan, in his latest film, "Mr. Nanny."

Remember when Lou Gossett became Louis Gosset Jr. for "Roots" — and then all his credits thereafter. Could it be that Hogan is so proud of "Mr. Nanny" that he's decided to use his real first name from now on?

Well, "Roots" this ain't.

"Mr. Nanny" is a silly kiddie flick that retreads territory better covered by "Mr. Mom," "Home Alone" and any number of clones.

And whereas Hogan made a surprisingly appealing presence in "Suburban Commando," here he is stiff, aloof and less endearing as a retired wrestler who reluctantly becomes bodyguard to an eccentric inventor (Austin Pendleton), only to find that he's really been hired to baby-sit his obnoxious brats (Robert Gorman, Madeline Zima).

But before we blame Hogan too much, let's acknowledge that "Mr. Nanny" is an arch and unfunny film, amateurishly written and directed by Michael Gottlieb ("Mannequin"). Even the veterans here look uncomfortable.

The story has Hogan becoming a bodyguard as a favor to his former manager, Sherman Hemsley. The assignment is to protect Pendleton, who has possession of a microchip that operates an anti-missile missile, called "The Peacemaker."

Evil David Johansen ("Scrooged"), who has a metal plate covering his head — courtesy of a skirmish with Hogan and Hemsley years earlier — is after the chip, and, of course, he's not above kidnapping Pendleton's kids to get it.

So, Hogan becomes the kids' "nanny," subject to the pranks that have driven away all the other nannys, including a bowling ball that falls out of a closet and lands on his head, trip wires that send him head-over-heels down long flights of stairs and electrocution when he steps out of the shower.

One device, an exploding wallet, is deemed so clever by Gottlieb that he uses it three times.

For his part, Hogan seems game for the pratfalls, walking into doors — and even wearing a tutu and curlers in his hair!

But the film is predictable sludge, lacking energy and laughs, and the "comic" mayhem isn't particularly recommendable for the kiddies.

"Mr. Nanny" is rated PG for a lot of violence, which includes the boy getting slapped around by Johansen, along with some profanity and vulgar language.

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