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‘Mother’s Boys’ (R)

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
April 16, 1994

It all started with the extramarital lover from Hell ("Fatal Attraction"). Emerging from the same fiery pit since then have been the evil babysitter ("The Hand That Rocks the Cradle"), the scheming secretary ("The Temp"), the mad-as-hell taxpayer ("Falling Down"), several malevolent kids ("Clifford" and "The Good Son") and so on.

And now comes "Mother's Boys," in which Jamie Lee Curtis joins the inner circle as the prodigal wife from Hell. Hollywood doesn't need good scriptwriters -- it needs a resident exorcist.

Curtis plays Jude, a leggy sociopath with a quick smile, a sports car and an estranged family. Three years ago, she deserted her husband, Robert (Peter Gallagher), and three kids. But now, after vanishing from everyone's life, she wants back in. Unfortunately, Robert has fallen in love with Callie (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer), a sweet-natured assistant principal at the kids' school, and he wants a divorce.

What's a mommy to do? Why, spook the kids into believing Callie's destroying the family unit, spray-paint "whore" on the teacher's car and seductively mount her husband in a quiet corner of his office. There's more: Jude also barges into Callie's office, cuts her own forehead with a glass shard, then accuses the teacher of assault. She also works on Kes (Luke Edwards), her 12-year-old, to bind Callie in handcuffs while -- never mind (someone might actually want to see this movie).

Suffice it to say, there's only one way to stop this kind of villain -- and it ain't social rehab. Vanessa Redgrave, whose appearance in this movie is the biggest mystery of all, plays Lydia, Jude's savvy mother, determined to stop her daughter from destroying Robert's new life. Jude, it turns out, has no scruples about taking on her mother. Lydia soon finds herself in a hospital bed. What Lydia should have done was serenade her daughter with this: "Hey Jude: Take a bad film and make it better."

"Mother's Boys" is rated R and contains nudity and violence.

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