Momma's Man (2008)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: Moody yet touching, Momma's Man successfully illustrates with elegant simplicity the struggles of a man consumed with his adolescence.

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Movie Info

A grown man locked into an extended state of arrested adolescence returns to the nest while concocting a series of excuses as to why he cannot return to his wife and child in this existential comedy drama from filmmaker Azazel Jacobs. Mikey was preparing to board an airplane bound for California when he suddenly found himself fleeing from the airport and returning to the comfort of his parents' New York home. Even Mikey isn't sure exactly why he made the snap decision not to go home, all he knows is that he can't quite muster the courage to go back and assume the responsibilities of your typical family man. Of course, Mikey's doting mother is more than happy to enable her son's indecision -- and his father remains as emotionally distanced as ever -- but as time goes on, the grown-up man-child finds it increasingly difficult to make the choice between going back to reality, or drifting ever further into his second adolescence. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Momma's Man

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (20)

Jacobs's low-fi third feature forges unique stylistic territory for the American independent film.

Aug 24, 2009 | Full Review…
indieWire
Top Critic

This simple but assured indie drama about the safety of childhood and the necessity of leaving it is particularly affecting because writer-director Azazel Jacobs draws so heavily on his own life.

May 29, 2009 | Full Review…

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.

May 8, 2009 | Rating: 5/6 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

The main character in Momma's Man shuffles through life like he's been poleaxed, and you may feel the same after you watch this slow-motion indie exercise about a grown-up who returns home and can't leave.

Oct 24, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

It works from a specific place and lets audiences relate to that place, and the people in it, like trusted intimates.

Oct 3, 2008 | Rating: 4/4

On the surface, it's a straightforward low-budget tale about a grown man who visits his parents and refuses to leave. Yet deeper, darker currents move through Momma's Man, eddying around fears of letting go on both sides of the generational divide.

Sep 19, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Momma's Man

½

I didnt start getting into this film until after I found out why the guy was really staying with his parents & then.......Wow

Brody Manson
Brody Manson

Super Reviewer

½

A truly odd movie that annoyed me but was good enough not to hate. I read a lot of good things about this movie but didn't really feel like there was anything to gain from this film.

Sunil Jawahir
Sunil Jawahir

Super Reviewer

Boring and pretentious.

Brandon Klaus
Brandon Klaus

Super Reviewer

½

[size=3]The ultra-indie, hand-made "Momma's Man" is one of a kind. In his feature-film debut, writer/ director [b]Azazel Jacobs[/b] takes the camera literally into his childhood home and casts his real-life parents (his father is renowned experimental filmmaker and Cinema Professor [b]Ken Jacobs[/b]) in a bizarre story about a man around 30 years old who visits his parents in New York and then mysteriously cannot leave, while his wife and newborn baby await him in California.[/size] [img]http://www.mspfilmfest.org/2008/images/stories/films/MommasMan.jpg[/img] [size=3]Despite having almost no dialogue, "Momma's Man" is oddly gripping as we watch this otherwise normal man slip down some kind of rabbit hole in his subconscious. To Jacobs' credit, there's never any explanation. [/size][size=3]Jacobs seems to believe that normal people occasionally fall into an odd little ditch on the side of the road and struggle for a time. This story is a loving and humane exploration of one such occasion.[/size] [size=3]There's no attempt to offer a psychological theory. We just watch this man experience it, and watch his parents try to help him. Especially helpful is his mother, who offers tenderness and concern. [/size] [size=3][/size] [size=3]The film's most magical scene happens at the end, when the mother holds her sobbing adult son like a boy. It is an image like none I've seen before. It radiates remarkable compassion and seems to say that even as grown-ups we sometimes need to be comforted by a parent, perhaps especially at age 30, which is the real beginning of adulthood now in America. [b]Flo Jacobs[/b] is positively radiant as the mother.[/size] [size=3]The son's trouble does get pretty serious. His condition begins to border on agoraphobia, with his not being able to go outdoors at all. This is where the film gets darker. But there is an endpoint. I won't reveal the details, but I can say that the son does not become psychotic. This is not the onset of major mental illness.[/size] [size=3]For some reason, Jacobs did not cast himself as the son. Actor [b]Matt Boren [/b]plays the son. Perhaps Jacobs didn't want to take the reality-cinema concept too far, and cast Boren to create some distance. [/size] [size=3]In fact, I think that was the only big mistake in the film. Boren to me did not work at all. [/size][size=3]There was a certain electricity watching the real Ken and Flo Jacobs, knowing they were the real people that raised Azazel and that this was the real apartment in New York City where they had raised him and where they presumably continue to live. [/size] [size=3]Boren lacked that electricity, and he didn't fit in. He never seemed like he was raised in that apartment or even in Manhattan. Nor did it seem like he would have been the child of artists. He looked like he had been raised in Queens by people who had never read a book in their lives. More like Archie Bunker's son than Ken Jacobs'. I'm puzzled as to what Jacobs was after in the choice of Boren and in the way he directed Boren, making the son seem schlubby and uneducated.[/size] [size=3]Finally, I must mention the apartment. The Jacobs' home becomes almost a separate character in the film. It is an apartment like you've never seen before, absolutely crammed with fascinating bric-a-brac and artistic material. "Momma's Man" is worth seeing just to see a real artist's apartment. [/size] [size=3]In some ways, one could see the film as a tribute to the Jacobses and their unorthodox approach to life. Theirs is certainly a lifestyle rarely seen in film. The film could also be seen as a tribute to a former era, when Manhattan was filled with artists like the Jacobses instead of yuppies who buy furniture at Crate & Barrel.[/size]

William Dunmyer
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

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