Momma's Man (15)

Film

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue May 5 2009

You’ve probably lost count as to how many of cinema’s thirtysomething losers are forced back into the arms of their mothers for reasons of psychological or financial breakdown. In this intoxicating, mysterious film, American indie director Azazel Jacobs offers a subtle and rewarding twist on that time-worn model. Easy-going schlub Mikey (Matt Boren) decides to take a detour while heading home to his adoring wife and child at the end of a business trip, and pays his elderly folks an extended house call.

In another unique twist, the parents are played by Jacobs’s own: experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs and his doe-eyed better half, Flo. Furthermore, most of the film unfolds in their cluttered New York loft. As the ageing pair go about their routines (Ken tinkering with video art, Flo cleaning, cooking and doting on her boys), Mikey, with his mobile switched off, rifles through accumulated knick-knacks and attempts to deal with the anxieties surfacing within him as he surges towards middle age.

Beautifully photographed on 16mm and playing like an upside-down riff on ‘Tokyo Story’, Jacobs’s film tracks a dearth of communication between the generations. He emphasises the silent despair felt by parents who are too ill-equipped emotionally and practically to offer help to troubled offspring. Yet, no voices are raised, no plates thrown – instead, awkward pauses and gestures and moments of self-examination give it a rich texture. It’s a lovely work, sad and funny. A melancomedy, if you will.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri May 8, 2009

Duration:

98 mins

Cast and crew

Cast:

Ken Jacobs, Flo Jacobs, Matt Boren, Dana Varon

Director:

Azazel Jacobs

Screenwriter:

Azazel Jacobs

Music:

Mandy Hoffman

Cinematography:

Tobias Datum

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Average User Rating

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LiveReviews|6
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Zbigniew Ambroziak-Zibi

Mamma`s man by Azazel Jacob The allure for any grown man of crawling back into the womb isn’t an obvious gift for cinema. No one can imagine a more personal thing to make, than to produce a movie about one’s own adulthood, casting his own parents as the parents of the main character. How much of an exhibitionist must he be! Mamma`s man by Azazel Jacob (The GoodTimesKid) is a kind of comedy, a kind of drama but does not really follow any of these genre formula. Ninety nine minutes were hard to digest. Director Jacob wanted to reach the emotional child of the audience, but for me he failed and did not even put me in a nostalgic mood. Mikey (Matt Boren), the main character, in his mid thirties, a busy businessman, married and father of a newborn baby, has stopped at his parents flat in New York for a couple days. When he explains his overstaying in a naïve way, his parents suspect that something is going wrong with their son. No one questioned him, until his father saw him canceling the phone message from his wife, trying to contact him from Los Angeles. What surprised me most was the limited dialog between characters. The lack of any communicative conversation distinguish this movie from others. This is a clever way of showing the death of communication between two generations. Mikey`s father (Ken Jacobs) is a typical father figure from Samuel Freud psychoanalyst books. The mother (Flo Jacobs) was annoying with her mothering, constantly asking him if he wants some coffee, tea or cereal. Mikey makes time to hide himself up in the loft, the place of his childhood. He surrounds himself with old toys, scrap books, reads comics and plays stupid songs which he wrote when he was teenager. All stuff triggered off stored- up memories. For me at that point the story line almost ended. Not much happens. Mikey tries to catch up with his old friend from his neighborhood (Piero Arcilesi ), even this visit convinced me that he is passive and conformist. For the whole movie we don’t really know what is going on with him. Is he sinking into a deep depression or does he want to escape from father duties waiting for him in Los Angeles. Mikey makes me angry, even more, annoyed. More or less, I think, maybe it is because of lack of skilful directing. For instance when Mikey`s leg is hovering above the top of stairs, when he wants escape from parent`s hovel, this scene is so full of kitsch. I do not think that director Azalel Jacob is a good psychologist or filmmaker. His aim was to depict somebody emotions, recalling memories and allow the character dive into childhood but for me did not work. Again when Mikey ventured to meet his high-school girlfriend (Eleanor Hutching), the conversation was incoherent and full of awkwardness but then he suddenly became melancholic by looking at the photograph of his newborn baby. Will he return to Los Angeles? This movie drags at times, and watching Boren take Mikey further and further into a state of absolute immobility is difficult to watch but his performance is so spot. The balance between directing and acting was uneven. You are emotionally attached more to the character rather than following the story with interest. Cramped and cluttered the flat of his parents becomes the perfect location to give away the impression of old bohemia and an erstwhile atmosphere of intellectual verve. A thoughtful soundtrack composed by Mandy Hoffman perfectly integrates with the whole movie and draws all viewers into a mood of stupor. Filmed in grainy 16 mm by cinematographer Tobias Datum, the movie captures, in vivid detail, one of the last stretches of ungentrified New York and the lives of the artists and intellectuals who dwell there. Despite of all painstaking endeavor the final result is disappointing. Long shots make you drowsy. Limited conversation makes you want to talk to your partner next to your seat in the cinema. What more can I say! It was only a fiver for the ticket

Zbigniew Ambroziak-Zibi

Mamma`s man by Azazel Jacob The allure for any grown man of crawling back into the womb isn’t an obvious gift for cinema. No one can imagine a more personal thing to make, than to produce a movie about one’s own adulthood, casting his own parents as the parents of the main character. How much of an exhibitionist must he be! Mamma`s man by Azazel Jacob (The GoodTimesKid) is a kind of comedy, a kind of drama but does not really follow any of these genre formula. Ninety nine minutes were hard to digest. Director Jacob wanted to reach the emotional child of the audience, but for me he failed and did not even put me in a nostalgic mood. Mikey (Matt Boren), the main character, in his mid thirties, a busy businessman, married and father of a newborn baby, has stopped at his parents flat in New York for a couple days. When he explains his overstaying in a naïve way, his parents suspect that something is going wrong with their son. No one questioned him, until his father saw him canceling the phone message from his wife, trying to contact him from Los Angeles. What surprised me most was the limited dialog between characters. The lack of any communicative conversation distinguish this movie from others. This is a clever way of showing the death of communication between two generations. Mikey`s father (Ken Jacobs) is a typical father figure from Samuel Freud psychoanalyst books. The mother (Flo Jacobs) was annoying with her mothering, constantly asking him if he wants some coffee, tea or cereal. Mikey makes time to hide himself up in the loft, the place of his childhood. He surrounds himself with old toys, scrap books, reads comics and plays stupid songs which he wrote when he was teenager. All stuff triggered off stored- up memories. For me at that point the story line almost ended. Not much happens. Mikey tries to catch up with his old friend from his neighborhood (Piero Arcilesi ), even this visit convinced me that he is passive and conformist. For the whole movie we don’t really know what is going on with him. Is he sinking into a deep depression or does he want to escape from father duties waiting for him in Los Angeles. Mikey makes me angry, even more, annoyed. More or less, I think, maybe it is because of lack of skilful directing. For instance when Mikey`s leg is hovering above the top of stairs, when he wants escape from parent`s hovel, this scene is so full of kitsch. I do not think that director Azalel Jacob is a good psychologist or filmmaker. His aim was to depict somebody emotions, recalling memories and allow the character dive into childhood but for me did not work. Again when Mikey ventured to meet his high-school girlfriend (Eleanor Hutching), the conversation was incoherent and full of awkwardness but then he suddenly became melancholic by looking at the photograph of his newborn baby. Will he return to Los Angeles? This movie drags at times, and watching Boren take Mikey further and further into a state of absolute immobility is difficult to watch but his performance is so spot. The balance between directing and acting was uneven. You are emotionally attached more to the character rather than following the story with interest. Cramped and cluttered the flat of his parents becomes the perfect location to give away the impression of old bohemia and an erstwhile atmosphere of intellectual verve. A thoughtful soundtrack composed by Mandy Hoffman perfectly integrates with the whole movie and draws all viewers into a mood of stupor. Filmed in grainy 16 mm by cinematographer Tobias Datum, the movie captures, in vivid detail, one of the last stretches of ungentrified New York and the lives of the artists and intellectuals who dwell there. Despite of all painstaking endeavor the final result is disappointing. Long shots make you drowsy. Limited conversation makes you want to talk to your partner next to your seat in the cinema. What more can I say! It was only a fiver for the ticket

Curt

mystic, I loved this movie, having just seen it for the second time last night. It was my cup o' tea: nuanced, ambiguous, and smart. Unlike the predictably cliched opinion you have of President Bush and his "fans." I am a President Bush supporter, despite your ironically uncompassionate, heart of stone, caricature.

Curt

mystic, I loved this movie, having just seen it for the second time last night. It was my cup o' tea: nuanced, ambiguous, and smart. Unlike the predictably cliched opinion you have of President Bush and his "fans." I am a President Bush supporter, despite your ironically uncompassionate, heart of stone, caricature.

mystic

If you're into deciphering psychological mysteries, as I am, you'll respond to this heart-wrenching indie weepie, a highlight at Sundance. But I warn you, this is not every one's cup o' tea. The film starts our slowly and progressively revealing insights into the reason for this young man's crisis; It does so episodically until a final brief revelation at the end that ties it up. Without revealing anything, is is my opinion that those who do respond to this film are probably Bush fans, uncompassionate and have hearts of stone. I wish to disagree with TimeOut's clinical diagnosis of the crisis; Suffice it to say that serious notice must be paid to those who fall through the cracks.

mystic

If you're into deciphering psychological mysteries, as I am, you'll respond to this heart-wrenching indie weepie, a highlight at Sundance. But I warn you, this is not every one's cup o' tea. The film starts our slowly and progressively revealing insights into the reason for this young man's crisis; It does so episodically until a final brief revelation at the end that ties it up. Without revealing anything, is is my opinion that those who do respond to this film are probably Bush fans, uncompassionate and have hearts of stone. I wish to disagree with TimeOut's clinical diagnosis of the crisis; Suffice it to say that serious notice must be paid to those who fall through the cracks.