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‘Love Your Mama’ (PG-13)

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
March 06, 1993

"Love Your Mama," an amateurish film written and directed by a former day-care worker, Ruby Oliver, visits a grocery list of urban plagues on the God-fearing matriarch of a poor Chicago family. For poor old Mama (Audrey Morgan), life's just one darn thing after another. The Egyptians had an easier time with Moses and the locusts, which is about the only misfortune that doesn't befall this ghetto mother.

Her husband (Earnest Rayford) is a skirt-chasing drunk who brings his women home to Mama, quits his job, then gets the clap. Mama stands by her man. Her difficult 16-year-old (Andre Robinson) is shot and falls into a coma while teaching his little brother to steal cars. Mama puts him "in the hands of the Lord." And that would be enough plot for most movies. But "Love Your Mama" is just getting started.

Normally, Mama can count on daughter Leola (Carol E. Hall), a popular high school senior with dreams of attending college and opening a day-care center. Alas, Leola loses her college scholarship, then is falsely accused of smoking marijuana and threatened with expulsion from high school. Shortly thereafter she loses her virginity, becomes pregnant and is too embarrassed to return to high school in time for graduation.

And that's only the half of it. Thank God they don't have a dog.

Oliver, who took up moviemaking after 23 years in day care, has far from mastered any aspect of her craft. Her script is as oafishly written as the actors are directed -- not that the cast is a particularly fine one (Hall alone shows promise in the role of the pregnant naif). Oliver, who also produced the film, even sings the slight title song, which might be the best thing about "Love Your Mama." Full of good intentions as it is, Oliver's work is an embarrassingly good example of a really awful student film.

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