'Mama's Boy" is an embarrassment right down to its Web site. I'm serious -- as of this writing, the site looks like it's barely working. The stars' heads are cut off. The features are shabby. When the Web site looks awful, that should clue you in on what you should expect from the movie.
Slipping into theaters very, very quietly (man, Warner Bros. really must not want people to know of this movie's existence -- and really, after seeing the movie, who could blame them?), "Boy" has Jon Heder, riding his "Napoleon Dynamite" man-child shtick one mo' gin, as an arrogant, surly 29-year-old who just can't let go of the apron strings of his mom (Diane Keaton). Our boy gets threatened when his mother starts dating a motivational speaker (Jeff Daniels), who moves into the old homestead and starts taking a bit too much of the old lady's time.
So, where should we begin first? Should we talk about how fine actors such as Keaton and Daniels got roped into appearing in such a forgettable and unfunny piece of junk? (And we all thought "Because I Said So" was the most embarrassing thing Keaton would appear in this year.) Or should we rap a taste about how this whole movie appears to be a carbon copy of that other DOA comedy that came out a couple of months ago, "Mr. Woodcock"? It practically has the same plot: Former fat kid works overtime to stop the union of his lonely mom and his overconfident archenemy.
From the way no one is coming out and promoting this movie, it's obvious everyone involved agrees "Boy" is a waste from the get-go. The attempts by director Tim Hamilton and writer Hank Nelken to mine humor out of Oedipal neurosis go from middling to creepy to just plain pathetic at a breakneck speed. I feel ashamed just talking about it -- and I had nothing to do with the movie getting made.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
The movie's lone saving grace comes in the form of Anna Faris, who shows up as a coffee shop employee/fledgling singer-songwriter who somehow finds herself drawn to Heder's obnoxious little twit. Whenever she was on screen and I had the pleasure of gazing at that sunny, darling punim of hers, life actually began to make sense again and I felt as if I were watching a movie that was worth my time.
But that was fleeting. I suddenly remembered I was watching "Mama's Boy." That's when I reminded myself, oh yeah, life stinks.