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  Publicity Stills of
"Mama's Boy"
(Courtesy of GV)

Genre: Comedy
Director: Tim Hamilton
Cast: Jon Heder, Diane Keaton, Jeff Daniels, Anna Faris, Eli Wallach, Dorian Missick
RunTime: 1 hr 33 mins
Released By: GV & Scorpio East Pictures
Rating: NC-16
Official Website: http://www.mamasboymovie.com/

Opening Day: 23 October 2008


Eccentric Jeffrey Mannus is 29 years old and still lives at home with his mom, Jan. He sees no reason to alter this arrangement, but his perfect world is upended when Jan meets Mert, a motivational speaker. Mert successfully woos Jan and moves in on Jeffrey's territory, something Jeffrey will not tolerate. Jeffrey enlists the aid of an unlikely ally, an aspiring singer-songwriter, Nora, with an anti-establishment penchant and a soft spot for him. As the war between Mert and Jeffrey escalates, something unprecedented happens -- slowly, to both his own surprise and horror, Jeffrey discovers his inner adult.

Movie Review:

There are only two reasons why one might enjoy Mama’s Boy. A) You enter the theatre knowing fully well that this is the sort of movie in which you leave your brains at home for, and B) you are a fan of Jon Heder. Well, for your information, I belong to the latter ever since I caught him on the hilarious and superb Napoleon Dynamite. So I was actually looking forward to Mama’s boy despite its contrived plot. A 29 year old still living with his mom? And eventually moves out? Sounds like Me, Myself and Dupre and Failure to Launch plus minus some details. In other words, pretty normal, cliché and boring stuff.

My conclusion: It wasn’t exactly bad; I enjoyed it on a basic level but it wasn’t mind-blowing material.

Heder has a special sort of onscreen charisma and the knack for inducing laughter, so the heavy burden of anchoring the movie lies quite squarely on his shoulders. He makes an acceptable, passable attempt… by recycling characteristics and quirks from his old roles. If he likes playing the eccentric, misanthropic losergeek roles in movies, he has to at least learn to stop using the same bag of tricks. Jeffrey (Heder) is basically a recycled and washed-down version of Napoleon in Napoleon Dynamite, but clad in mod indie apparel. I guess another thing that he is well known for is…his lack of versatility. Note to Heder: it is tiring to see the same routine over and over no matter how ingenious you are! Once is enough!

Watching Mama’s Boy is like watching a class skit where you are rooting for your friend... not because he’s good, but because he is likeable enough. The plot here is dastardly bare (and doesn’t leave any room for spoilers); the storyline is not context-driven, but highly dependent on wave after wave of gags and jokes. Which is why in some parts of the movie, the acting comes across slightly exaggerated and unprofessional, and this uneven acting makes for uncomfortable viewing.

And the title is misleading since Jeffrey isn’t technically a “mama’s boy”; he is just selfish, reliant and lazy by nature. Mert (Diane Lane) doesn’t coddle him; neither does she give in to his every need. She’s just a regular mom stuck with an overbearing son who in the end, sees the light and chases his own happiness.

So why does this movie deserve 2 ½ stars instead of 1? Well, because I appreciate the fact that it doesn’t even try at all to be something it is not, and remains genuinely… dumb and light. It’s all about poking fun at stereotypes (the high-strung, anti-corporation punk chick, and indie nerd ala Seth Cohen), laughing at jokes to loosen the nerves after a long day of work, and keeping it all simple, fluffy and chirpy. Oh, not to mention, the movie showcased a brilliant selection of old, retro songs by Morrisey, The English Beat and Generation X.

Mama’s Boy is great for the weekends where you would rather be relaxing than straining your brains over some pretentious philosophical film questioning the existence of man or something.

Movie Rating:

Napoleon Dynamite 2 (and sequels always suck much worse than the first)

Review by Casandra Wong


. The House Bunny (2008)

. Step Brothers (2008)

. Blades of Glory (2007)

. You, Me and Dupree (2006)

. School for Scoundrels (2006)

. Failure to Launch (2006)

. The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)

. Napoleon Dynamite DVD (2004)

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