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  Publicity Stills of "Grandma's Boy"
(Courtesy from Shaw)

Genre: Comedy
Director: Nicholaus Goossen
Starring: Linda Cardellini, Allen Covert, Peter Dante, Shirley Jones, Shirley Knight, Joel David Moore, Kevin Nealon, Doris Roberts, Nick Swardson
RunTime: 1 hr 30 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: M18 (Drug Content)

Opening Day: 25 May 2006

Synopsis :

Alex (Allen Covert) has one sweet life. After walking away from his death by accounting job, he's now a video game tester at Brainasium, the company responsible for the worldwide gaming phenom of "Eternal Death Slayer." At 35, he may be the oldest tester in the business (he's called "Gray Bush" by his co-workers), but he's also the best.

But when his roommate fails to pay the rent for six months because he's spent every last cent at Madame Wu's Filipino Palace ("They're not hookers, they're massage therapists!"), Alex unfortunately finds himself on the street. His friendly dealer Dante (Peter Dante) can't let Alex crash because he has a business to run and besides, the guard lion will be arriving any day. His friend Jeff (Nick Swardson) agrees to put him up, until that unfortunate accident involving Alex and the action figure in the bathroom…which Jeff's mom happens to, well, catch.

Alex's last resort is to move in with three hot babes—that's what he tells his friends, at any rate. In actuality, the 35-year-old finds himself living with his sweet and loving 80-year-old grandma Lilly (Doris Roberts), along with her two roommates: the "been there, done that repeatedly" octogenarian Grace (Shirley Jones) and the not-quite-all-there, overly medicated Bea (Shirley Knight). Lilly dotes on Alex and keeps him housed and fed—in exchange for a few simple chores around the place, like taking out the trash and sandblasting the house.

So things are busy for Alex both at his new home and at work. Brainasium's New Age-y honcho Mr. Cheezle (Kevin Nealon) has brought in hotshot (and really hot) gaming exec Samantha (Linda Cardellini) from New York to help whip "Eternal Death Slayer Three" into shape before its street date. Seems the series' creator, über-nerd wiz kid J.P. (Joel David Moore), has been coasting on his rep—he was a millionaire by the time he turned 13—and his newest entry has a few bugs.

The game's kinks are no prob for Alex and the Brainasium testers (most of whom just started shaving), which leaves time for Alex to help Lilly with the house and to try and bag his new hot boss while continuing to work in secret developing his own game, called "Demonik."

Things start to get tricky, though, once the cat's outta the bag about who Alex is really rooming with—that is until the gray ladies warm to Alex's friends at an after-work party, thanks to that special tea they found in his room. Who knew 80-somethings could be so at home with video geeks, a low-key dealer, an African tribesman and a smattering of strippers, along with their colorful clientele? Amazing what a few tokes and tequila slammers will do to loosen things up.

But when jealous nerdboy J.P. swipes Alex's "Demonik" and tries to pass it off as his own, it becomes a battle of Gen-Xers versus gin players when Samantha produces a secret weapon: Alex's grandma (and now master gamer) Lilly.

Movie Review:

First, we must applaud this movie to have the courage to take on all those big-budget summer blockbusters. In this 90-minute movie, you will find no famous stars, no expensive-looking sets and no dazzling computer generated effects. Heck, there even seems to be no point to the plot of this movie produced by comedy actor Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions.

35-year-old Alex (Allen Covert, whom you may find familiar if you are a fan of Sandler’s movies) is the world's oldest video game tester. When one of his roommates spends all the rent money on Filipino hookers (yes, that actually counts as a reason), Alex is kicked out of his apartment. He is forced to live with his grandmother (a very kind-looking Doris Roberts) and her friends Grace (a sexily old but menacing Shirley Jones) and Bea (a no-clue-what-is-going-on-looking Shirley Knight).

Alex also happens to be developing the next big game “Demonik” for the X-Box generation. To add colour to his life, there are his nice pals at work, a new supervisor whom he falls in love with, a really weird video game geek who will be his nemesis in love, his friendly weed dealer and a whole load of other slapstick supporting characters.

Yes, that is about it for the story of the movie. Film scholars will shun and criticize movies like this for being trashy, but if you are out to have a good time at the cinemas, this is the perfect movie for that occasion.

The movie’s effortless ability to milk laughs from you is its strongest selling point. The setups and situations are so stupidly hilarious that you will instantly forgive the movie for being so senseless and meaningless. You begin to wonder whether that is the whole point of making this movie in the first place.

The characters in the movie are mostly likeable, from the nerds in Alex’s workplace, to the mysterious African tribesman and Tae Kwan Do master who visit Alex’s weed dealer. However, the resident geeky wiz kid who becomes Alex’s rival in love can come off as a little too annoying for comfort. His robotic mannerisms and Matrix-inspired black trench coat become too trying after a while.

The crowds who will enjoy this slapstick movie the most are the video gamers. There are plenty of pop cultural references in the movie, ranging from the T-shirts the characters wear, to the various video games tested by Alex. For the less initiated, look out for the familiar “Galaga” fighter plane video game opening and end credits, and also the “Dance Dance Revolution” scene which will wow you as if you are watching a “live” demonstration at a video game arcade.

There are also several scenes involving weeds and drugs which may not ring too much of a bell to movie-goers here. This is also the reason why the movie has been slapped with an M-18 (Drug Content) rating. In America, there is apparently a larger demographic for this genre of drug-related comedies. In Singapore, one similar flick which comes to mind would be Danny Leiner’s Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle (2004).

So if you are in the mood to leave your brains at the door and laugh your heads off on a stressful day at work or a lazy weekend, do give this movie a go. And boy, trust us, you will not regret paying for that ticket.

Movie Rating:

(Give yourself a break from all the oh-so-serious and effects-laden summer blockbusters – check out this screwball comedy for a rollin’ good time)

Review by John Li


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