No one goes to see a Hulk Hogan movie for cutting-edge moviemaking, and “Mr. Nanny” will be no exception. Targeted squarely to the 8-12 audience, the result is a mildly amusing picture that should please Hogan’s fans but probably won’t win him any new ones. It should achieve reasonable returns in quick theatrical life.
The Hulkster plays Sean Armstrong, a professional wrestler who has left the ring, but is asked by his former manager (Sherman Hemsley) to take a job as a bodyguard. His charges are the two bratty kids (Robert Gorman, Madeline Zima) of a wealthy scientist (Austin Pendleton). The family is being threatened by a deranged criminal (David Johansen) who wants a new computer chip the scientist’s company has developed.
Pic’s first half focuses on Hogan and the kids. The tykes pull outrageous stunts like putting an electromagnet under his weights or making him fall into a swimming pool filled with red dye No. 2.
In the second half he wins over the children and all the good guys join forces to battle the bad guys. Virtue triumphs, and a lesson about respect, pride and love is learned by all. Oh, and a lot of people get beaten up.
While younger children may be scared by the violence and Johansen’s creepy villain, older pre-teens will likely find the slapstick violence rather amusing. This is Roadrunner territory, where bowling balls dropped on heads or low-grade electric shocks are merely minor inconveniences.
As an actor, no one will confuse Hogan with Robert De Niro, but he’s just doing here what he did in the ring: creating a heroic and likable figure for whom the audience can root. One of his strengths is that he doesn’t take himself too seriously and is willing to kid about his tough image. Audiences will likely leave with the enduring and comical image of the Hulkster in a tutu.
Hemsley and Pendleton do their patented schtick, while Mother Love adds some zest as the family cook. Johansen, who also co-wrote the score with Brian Koonin , sinks his teeth into the hammy part of the villain who has a steel plate on top of his skull.
The script by Edward Rugoff and director Michael Gottlieb is pretty formulaic , with several potential subplots — such as the children attending the same public school that Hogan’s character did — raised only to be forgotten.