Momma's Man

Momma's Man movie poster
MPAA rating: NR
Genre: Drama
A grown man clings to his lost adolescence and avoids his wife and child during what was supposed to be a quick visit to his parents' loft while he was in New York on business.
Starring: Matt Boren, Ken Jacobs, Richard Edson, Piero Arcilesi, Eleanor Hutchins, Dana Varon, Flo Jacobs
Director: Azazel Jacobs
Running time: 1:34
'

Editorial Review

Through an accident of spelling, I can't help reading the title "Momma's Man" and thinking that the movie has something to do with "Big Momma's House" or "Little Man," two comedies about, respectively, a larger-than-life mother figure and a grown man who acts like a child. And, in a strange way, it does.

No, it's not broad comedy, and Martin Lawrence doesn't show up in fat-suited drag. Rather, the movie is the very definition of a quiet, low-budget indie: Nothing much "happens" (i.e., no sex, no car chase, no million-dollar heist); Richard Edson appears in cameo; and the director's parents and house are featured prominently.

Here, writer-director Azazel Jacobs's real-life father and mother (experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs and his wife, Flo) portray the mother and father of Mikey (Matt Boren), a young husband and father who gets stuck, at least psychologically, in his folks' New York apartment while he's on a business trip. There's no physical or logistical reason why he can't return to his family in California. He just doesn't.

And with a mother constantly feeding him and offering him warm beverages (a symbolic substitute for her breast?), why should he? The filmmaker's mom is a low-key presence on film but seems to loom large in Mikey's head.

Azazel Jacobs has said that a visit home inspired the story. "Why did I ever leave this place?" he remembers thinking about his parents' cozily cluttered, loft-life home. "Momma's Man" takes that germ of an idea and lets it flower, in a way that is both odd and oddly compelling.

At times it's just silly, as Mikey pads around the apartment in his socks and underwear, rereading comic books and letters from an old girlfriend and playing with toys. At other times, it evokes the surrealism of Luis Buñuel's "The Exterminating Angel" and the dinner-party guests who find themselves inexplicably unable to leave a well-appointed room.

-- Michael O'Sullivan (Nov. 14, 2008)

Contains crude language.