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With: Matt Boren, Ken Jacobs, Flo Jacobs, Richard Edson, Piero Arcilesi, Eleanor Hutchins, Dana Varon
Written by: Azazel Jacobs
Directed by: Azazel Jacobs
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 94
Date: 01/18/2008

Momma's Man (2008)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Wolfe Man

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Here's a movie that arrives with enthusiastic accolades from New York. It's written and directed by Azazel Jacobs, the son of the legendary experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs (Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son; Star Spangled to Death, etc.). And, lo and behold, the elder Jacobs is here playing himself, along with his wife Flo Jacobs. Honestly, if not for this very interesting factor, I doubt Momma's Man would even have warranted a release, much less these sparkling reviews. Matt Boren stars as Mikey, the fictitious son of the real-life parents. He's pudgy and balding and generally depressing to look at. He normally lives in Los Angeles, where he has a wife and a new baby, and has been visiting his parents' New York loft on some unknown errand. He leaves to catch his flight home, but returns to his parents' place later that night, vaguely complaining of airline problems. He proceeds to stay, laying around the house, eating, drinking booze, going for walks, pretending to work, and going through boxes of old things. The film very deliberately avoids explaining this crisis, though it's very interested in making an old-fashioned, Hollywood conclusion to it all (complete with hugs and tears). I suppose it's all meant to be another version of Thomas Wolfe's quote "You can't go home again." It's very cool to see the Jacobs' real loft, packed with a lifetime of artistic thingamajigs, and to occasionally see glimpses of Ken's daily routine (at one point, the trio watches Chaplin's Monsieur Verdoux while lying in bed). And the production has a patient, observant tone, which almost disguises the fact that Momma's Man can't decide what kind of movie it wants to be.

DVD Details: Rather than a commentary track, Jacobs has included a home-recorded conversation between himself and his parents; you'd have to be a huge fan to sit through it all. Jacobs also includes two short films, a new one called Momma's Family and one of his early ones, Rain Building Music. Fortunately, there's also a new Ken Jacobs film here, the 14-minute Capitalism: Child Labor. Aside from that, we get deleted scenes and a trailer.

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