Your Mother Wears Combat Boots (1989)
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YOUR MOTHER WEARS COMBAT BOOTS I can't lie: within the first five minutes of Your Mother Wears Combat Boots, I'd already decided I was going to pan the thing. There's suspension of disbelief, and then there's "Within the infinite realms of the multiverses, this scenario does not exist in a single one." It was easier for me to believe a bunch of little-people and their band of multi-racial buddies went on a quest to destroy an all-powerful evil Ring than it was to buy Your Mother's setup. The short version is as follows: after a middle-aged woman's son enlists in the army, she follows him to paratrooper school and masquerades as a cadet on a hunt for her wayward son, without a single official realizing she has no business being there. Yeah. I know. Rick and Morty has a deeper rooting in reality than Your Mother Wears Combat Boots. The humor is the exact sort I detest: clean. It's an eighties flick, complete with equally repulsive hair-do's and shoulder pads. Hector Elizondo is in it, but he's not a butler, which threw my entire world-view into absolute chaos. The military is presented as a corp of clueless comedic buffoons, and the characters - or caricatures, rather - are overt cliches and tropes dressed up as people. I intended to wage total war in verbal form on Your Mother Wears Combat Boots. And then something amazing happened. Hell froze over, and I found myself laughing. Barbara Eden of I Dream Of Jeannie fame plays Brenda Anderson, who the modern lexicon would probably label a helicopter parent. Her husband died in Vietnam, but it wasn't Charlie who killed him. It was a 'parachute accident', whatever the heck that is. Brenda's son, Jimmy, is intent on joining the Army and enlists at the first opportunity, kicking off the entire plot when his mother receives a letter from him informing her "Na-na-na boo-boo, I joined anyways", or something to that effect. Brenda's character reminded me of Phoebe from Friends: her act of utter ignorance and naivety can't possibly be anything than an act. As with Phoebe, I quickly decided she was possibly the smartest person present, and though she was on a mission, she had to be having a real lark, yukking it up at all the idiots buying her moronic facade. Pushing the envelope, seeing how stupid they could possibly believe a human would be. Basically she's an 80's live-version internet troll, and her entire life - every word out of her mouth - is an elaborate prank on the legions of the gullible morons populating her fictional universe. Let's remember the key to literary criticism: the creator's intent means diddly. My subjective experience with the art is all that matters. So if I say she's Phoebe, she's Phoebe, damnit. Having accepted this multi-faceted aspect of an otherwise one-dimensional film, I found it far easier to accept as well the cast of flat supporting characters. Besides Hector Elizondo trading in his butler's livery for the facade of a tough drill-instructor, there are more big names and recognizable faces than I'd expected. Megan Fay, easily recognized from approximately ninety separate television shows, plays Edie, Brenda's squadie and roommate. She embodies both the aggressive butch-army-chick role, and the recalcitrant buddy trope. Conchata Ferrell makes some funny appearances as well in a supporting role, employing the same dry delivery and humor she later brought to Two And A Half Men. David Kaufman (playing Jimmy Anderson) has since moved into voice-acting, but it was the eighties and he was young, so I give him a pass on the stilted ridiculousness. The conflict redoubles when Jimmy inevitably discovers his mother's ploy, and Brenda's squadies wanting to Private-Pyle her when her antics routinely get them all in trouble. Son and mother make a wager of sorts: if she can complete her inaugural jump, he'll drop out of paratrooper school and transfer to the motor-pool. The squadies, meanwhile, do not go Full Metal Jacket on Brenda. Instead she twists their arms to help her get through cadet school, either with good honest elbow-grease or outright trickery. Will she prevail? Doesn't matter, it's a comedy. We're here to laugh, not to make any sense of a fundamentally illogical plotline. "Light-hearted romp" definitely fits the bill for describing Your Mother Wears Combat Boots. These days, with Batman being all super-serious and the Joker becoming a tragic anti-hero, I'll admit I can be guilty of the jaded viewer syndrome. I expect every film into which I invest my [not-so-valuable] time to deliver diamond-encrusted gold on every facet. From a comedy I expect a deep social commentary; from a drama I expect mind-boggling cinematography; even our action films are supposed to be more than action films these days. I'd encourage you to turn that bit of your brain off, here. Don't read too much into it. Watch it alone when you can really let yourself have a giggle free of any judgment or derision from your peers. Get back in touch with your eighties-child, or meet it for the first time altogether if you were fortunate enough to have been born sometime later. There is absolutely nothing special about Your Mother Wear Combat Boots. Not a single spectacular angle to it. But it made grumpy old me laugh, and I suppose that's all it ever aimed for.
Very unrealistic, not very funny, overall ehhh.
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