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Mama's Boy

2008-07-28 10:52
What it's about:

Jeffrey Mannus (Jon Heder) is a man-child. He's been living with his mother Jan (Diane Keaton) for 29 years and has no plans of moving out and disrupting the comfortable co-dependent cocoon they share. But when motivational speaker Mert Rosenbloom (Jeff Daniels) unexpectedly sweeps his mother off her feet, Jeffrey realises his world is under threat. With the help of unassuming wannabe singer Nora (Anna Faris), he starts plotting to rid his mother and himself of Mert and return to his self-serving life.

What we think of it:

Mama's Boy should've gone straight to video. And were it not for the big-billed cast, it probably would've. Sadly, it's made its whiney way into our movie theatres.

There might be a few reasons why you would want to watch it. One for instance, is that a great cast of comic actors are lined up in the major roles. Jon Heder is brilliant in caricature roles in films such as the cult classic Napoleon Dynamite and the sport parody Blades of Glory, and with the huge amounts of symbiotic dysfunction that comes with mama's boys you can only imagine what Heder can do with that kind of material. Diane Keaton, Jeff Daniels and even Anna Faris have also proved their comedy potential be it in Woody Allen classics, Jim Carrey slapsticks or scary movie spoofs.

But then there are many (many) reasons why you shouldn't see it.

Screenwriter Hank Nelken gums up a perfectly good story. Something that could've cleverly explored the hilarity of a 29-year-old man-child is misshapen into a mediocre farce. But Nelken did also pen the torturous Are We Done Yet?, so we really shouldn't be surprised that he's written probably the unfunniest comedy of 2008.

Speaking of comedy, there are some laugh-out-loud moments, but they're few and far between and usually don't include the film's central character. Heder isn't given much to work with and instead of a forward moving character, the audience is faced with an annoyingly self-absorbed protagonist you won't find the will to root for. At the end of 90 minutes, Jeffery's expected transformation feels rushed and insincere. Keaton is usually brilliant as the overbearing mother (The Family Stone and Because I Said So), but in Mama's Boy she's reduced to a flakey widow who whines and flings her head about.

In this kind of film the wardrobe really shouldn't be an issue, but there's something rather disturbing about seeing Heder in too many skinny jeans and too short blazers. Even Faris' bohemian style is a little too offbeat.

That said, spare yourself the effort (and the cash) and give Mama's Boy a miss.

- Megan Kakora

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Not even a star-studded cast can save this ham, which should carry a warning: unfunny comedy.

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