What would you do if your mother moved in with you and just wouldn't leave? When Noah Cooper, 29, is fired from his job as a therapist, he thinks his day can't possibly get worse. When he arrives home his already full house gets even crazier when Marilyn, Noah's overbearing mother arrives with her five dogs in tow needing a place to stay. Comedy ensues as Noah learns to deal with the pressures of finding a job, a wife who desperately wants a baby, and worst of all a mother who won't quit smothering!
Smother isn’t as much a comedy as it is a tragedy. Yes, it is a tragic witness to the decline of Academy-Award winning actress Diane Keaton. Of late, the star of classics like Annie Hall and Manhattan has been languishing in direct to DVD movies such as this one. And let me say this- after watching them, it’s very clear why they never enjoyed so much as a theatrical release.
After the equally dismal Because I Said So and Mama’s Boy, Smother is strike three in Diane Keaton’s string of painfully unfunny comedies. And just like her previous two lacklustre efforts, she plays a mother- only this time, she’s the overbearing type (hence the title of the movie). Her character Marilyn Cooper moves in with her son Noah (Dax Shepard) to try to escape an unfulfilled marriage life, compounded by her suspicions that her husband is cheating on her.
But Noah has problems of his own- he has just been fired from his job as a physical therapist. Now not only does he have to contend with his smothering mother, he also has to worry about his unemployment, both of which are giving him cold feet about having a baby with his enthusiastic wife Clare (Liv Tyler). Yes, it’s the kind of comedy that you know how everything is going to turn out at the end.
But predictable is just among one of the litany of criticisms this movie deserves. For another, there is not one shred of humour to be had in this dreary mess. Like their previous effort License to Wed, writers Tim Rasmussen and Vince Di Meglio have shown that they have little flair for humour. When they resort to cheap tricks like getting Noah’s new manager to thrust his pelvis behind an old lady at the carpet store they work, you know that they are getting desperate.
Usually the best thing about the movies she’s in, Diane Keaton unfortunately is in fact the weakest link here. Her performance consists of little more than whining, flailing about hysterically and then breaking down. Even from the point of view of a mother trying in her best way to look out for the interests of her son, she is unlikely to gain much sympathy for her character.
And that is probably the nail in the coffin for Smother- because Diane Keaton is most likely the reason why people will pick this DVD up in the first place. To save yourselves from disappointment, avoid this stinker. Much as we would like to be gracious to the former screen icon, the fact that she executive-produced this mess only makes her more culpable for it.
Picture’s pretty decent. The audio is only presented in Dolby 2.0 so there’s really nothing to shout about.
Review by Gabriel Chong