Mother Movie Review

As Norman Bates said it: "A boy's best friend is his mother." And just as Norman's family had its own brand of extreme dysfunctionality, Albert Brooks dredges up more of his neuroses in Mother, a new comedy about making peace with your past -- particularly with Mom.

At least I think that's what it's about. Mother starts off with a definitive whimper, and it takes a long time to get to the real story. (Lisa Kudrow makes a short appearance at the film's opening -- which bodes ill for the film, as it violates the "Never put a Friend in a movie" rule which was established early last year.)

So, in the first 15 minutes, here's what we do get. Brooks plays John Henderson, a frustrated science fiction writer who is just finishing all the paperwork on his second divorce. His life is a shambles, and John flails about for some kind of answer to the questions of life. His ingrate brother (Rob Morrow) is no help, so John turns to the one person who understands him least -- his mother.

John drives the 400 miles from L.A. to Sausalito and finds Mom (played by the wonderful Debbie Reynolds) a reluctant host, plying him with 3-year-old sherbet and frozen cheese. John is moving back home with one thing on his mind: "The Experiment," a kind of soul searching that isn't easy to explain in the context of a film review (the one time John tries to explain it in the film, Mom turns and replies, "I'm sorry John, I wasn't listening...").

And while you may not really understand this Experiment thing, the give and take between the two leads makes for some excellent comedic moments: Mom talks about John's divorce to the pet store clerk, John takes Mom into Victoria's Secret to buy her some crotchless panties. You get the idea.

The gist of the rest of the film revolves around John trying to figure out why animosity exists between he and his mother, and when he does, everything ties up a little too nice-and-neatly, and everyone's happy again. But cut him some slack; relationships are by definition a tricky subject, and Brooks is to be praised for exploring one like this. I don't know if he's right about the whole thing, but I had a good time watching him try to figure it all out. If you have a mother, you should too.

Brooks calls for help in Mother. He needs it.

Cast & Crew

Director :


Comments

Mother Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: PG-13, 1996

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