Where's Poppa? - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Where's Poppa? Reviews

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July 13, 2016
I definitely would have tightened the slack pace of this--it seems perhaps 15 or 20 minutes too long, and really lags in spots--but it has some really excellent ideas and, in its basic underlying tenet of adult siblings trying to take care of their elderly parents, yet at the same time having fulfilling lives of their own, remains unfortunately very timely. I'm NOT a George Segal fan in the slightest (in both his previous roles in 'Ship of Fools' and 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf', he seems to think that simply by screaming at someone, that it inherently means 'range' and 'intensity'), but his work here is solid and he makes you care about his character's plight enough to actually empathize with his situation and root for him as a result. Solid work--and director Carl's son Rob is absolutely hilarious in a rare, pre-'All in the Family' performance. Good stuff here--contemporary PC-awareness notwithstanding, of course... ;)
March 29, 2014
This is the funniest movie ever made!
November 12, 2013
Just behind the original "The Producers" as one of the best comedies ever made.
October 11, 2013
It's the Mother of all Jewish-mother joke films.
½ November 1, 2012
A very funny comedy, with Ruth Gordon doing what she does best. I'll subtract half-a-star for a rape scene done for laughs.
½ April 14, 2012
Any movie with a "humorous" rape scene gets no love from me.
February 19, 2012
This is my vote for the next "Dine-In Movie". This film is considered the funniest film ever made, and I agree I couldn't pck myself off the floor when I saw it years ago...and since we are having fun..I think handmade pizza is the order for the day
Super Reviewer
½ December 16, 2010
An insane black comedy that pushed the envelope even in 1970. It's really hilarious, but a bit shocking at the same time. Gordon and Segal are great actors and both give fantastic performances. I really liked this crazy movie.
½ November 13, 2009
Not a bad comedy directed by Carl Reiner starring George Segal and Ruth Gordon. Though there are funny moments throughout (mainly with Ruth Gordon), it strays from the plot a lot of times and it basically just plays out like an extended sitcom. I could have done without the brother, his scenes didn't work. However, Ruth Gordon should be reason enough to see this, it's a fun comedic role, I just wish she had more screen time.
October 27, 2009
This film is certainly wacky and I am certain it must have been racy and controversial in its day. Good performance from Ruth Gordon, but Trish Van Devere is below the talents of the rest of the cast. Good writing, but a bit slow in parts.
October 27, 2009
This film is certainly wacky and I am certain it must have been racy and controversial in its day. Good performance from Ruth Gordon, but Trish Van Devere is below the talents of the rest of the cast. Good writing, but a bit slow in parts.
June 27, 2009
You know, I've been wanting to see Where's Poppa? for quite some time now. It was the first page of a book about cult movies that sparked my interest. That fateful first page mentions that cult movies are often known by only a select few, then goes on to give as an example, "the comedy where George Segal's brother, dressed in a gorilla costume, is implicated in the gang rape of a policeman in drag". How could that not be fantastic?

And, truth be told, it is pretty fantastic... just not consistently so. There are moments when the humor works in spectacular ways, although it is unlikely to make you bust your gut with laughter. Take, for instance, the moment where Gordon (Segal) leads his love to the bedroom. When trying to lay her down on the bed, she instead stands and in the passion of kissing, he ends up standing on the bed as well. She manages to mention that they are still wearing their shoes, and so while kissing voraciously and while standing on the bed, Gordon attempts to remove both his and her shoes. That's funny, real clever, but not gonna leave tears in your eyes.

The plot is plenty wacky. Gordon promised his father on his deathbed that he would take care of his senile mother and not place her in a nursing home. That promise has caused him nothing but anguish, however, as his mother's condition has only worsened. She throws juvenile tantrums, embarasses Gordon by pulling his pants off when guests are in the apartment, and yells constantly. He's at his wit's end. Meanwhile, Gordon's brother Sidney is trying to make it across town to help cool the situation, but runs into a gang of troublemakers in the park who decide to steal his clothes when he has no money. Then later, he wears a gorilla suit and... well you know the rest.

Does it make sense? No, and it's when the movie really allows itself to enjoy its own absurdity that it hits the mark. When Gordon's love tells him that she has bought a plane ticket and is going home, his first response is, "Where is home?" Which only leads to a protracted discussion about Waukegan, Illinois. That's the kind of stuff that makes the movie enjoyable. It's just too bad that a lot of the rest of the movie is slow and doesn't often hit in the same way.

The cult movie book of mine admits that Where's Poppa? is "an acquired taste", and that may be the case. It's oddball happenings remind me of the work of Joe Minion and of the 1989 movie Twister. Those movies worked better, it seems to me, because there was more urgency to them. The plot (what plot there is) moves forward much more smoothly in those movies than this one, which works much like a play - there is no sense that one thing necessarily leads to the next here, so much as one thing just happens to precede the next.

If the script had been allowed to go through one more draft, Where's Poppa? could have been close to perfect. As it stands, there's too little tying it together, really, to work as well as it ought to.
½ June 6, 2009
Completely bizarre chamber-play-like comedy that guides you in through the perspective of the camera (as opposed to the far more typical comedy that puts you in the perspective of the leading man). They don't do make that kind of comedy anymore and it's a shame, because the possibilities for absurd and visual humor are so much higher. This is a gem.
½ June 4, 2009
A bizarre experience! I watched it a while ago, and I don't think there is anything else like it. Plus, Ruth Gordon is simply amazing.
½ January 31, 2009
Terribly dated humor, but well-played by a fine cast. Unfortunately, Ruth Gordon has little to really do here - Sorvino, MeatHead and Garrett Morris even less. However, Reiner's humor boldly maintains tone and specificity despite a structure that often feels like a series of skits.
January 15, 2009
Just a totally ridiculous film that proves that anything that could go wrong usually happens. George Segal does a great job who is tortured by his mother and can't get a life of his own. But the true star of this film is Ruth Gordon, who is amazing as the absolutely nuts mother. Fun movie to watch.
½ September 14, 2008
it's ridiculous and incoherent, but it's also really, really funny. I guess that's pretty much what I expected since I'd never heard of it before seeing it mentioned in an interview of the band Man Man.
½ August 28, 2008
my father told me that he and my mother saw this on a date 5 years before i was born . he told me the two of them laughed tears ,so naturally i was interrested in checking it out......I did not get this film, ,I mean it was funny,dont get me wrong. but i rarely laughed outloud. it was borderline morbid in the way it potrayed a young single man taking care of his poor old mother with dementia. not my favorite by a long shot.
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