Mama’s boy (Tim Hamilton). 98 minutes. Opens Friday (December 14). Rating: N
Too bad the Hollywood writers’ strike didn’t start sooner. I wouldn’t have had to sit through this miserable and unintentionally risible excuse for a comedy.
Like Failure To Launch, Mr. Woodcock and a dozen other movies about man-children unwilling to let go of the apron strings, Mama’s Boy is incapable of anything that resembles entertainment. The Smiths’ Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, prominently used on the soundtrack, better reflects my feelings than those of any of the losers onscreen.
Jon Heder recycles his socially retarded Napoleon Dynamite shtick – 80s new wave gear and Dungeons & Dragons sub for moon boots and ligers – morphing into an angry, passive-aggressive slacker-bully who bristles at the idea that his mom, a shrill Diane Keaton, might prefer the company of a soft-hearted motivational guru played by Jeff Daniels (who somehow can’t make a comedy without getting naked at least once).
The script sets us up to discover some dark secret about Daniels’s faux Dr. Phil that never materializes, and his battle of wills with Heder quickly evaporates. Only the charmingly quirky Anna Faris, as a punkish coffee shop singer/songwriter, walks away from the wreckage unscathed, although there’s little basis for her affection toward Heder’s obnoxious creep.
Even the Say Anything homage ending can’t redeem the character or the film in any way and actually slightly diminishes my great affection for that John Cusack classic merely by association.