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Arrested male development is a frequent subject for mainstream Hollywood comedies, but director Azazel Jacobs adopts a far more stringent approach in his minimalist effort. Featuring his real-life parents (Flo Jacobs and famed avant-garde filmmaker Ken Jacobs) as the frustrated mother and father of his central character and using the real-life atmospheric Tribeca loft in which he grew up as a central location, Jacobs’ “Momma’s Man” is more likely to induce feelings of discomfort than titters.
The titular figure is Mikey (Matt Boren), a pudgy thirtysomething who has left his wife (Dana Varon) and newborn child in Los Angeles to visit his parents in New York. When he gets bumped from his return flight, he impulsively takes up residence in his childhood home, all too eagerly basking in his mother’s overly protective solicitousness-she leaves a note urging him to put fresh fruit on his cereal-even while his father looks on more and more disapprovingly.
Soon he’s ignoring the increasingly distraught phone calls from his worried wife, instead spending his time lounging around in his underwear, reading comic books, and singing songs of alienation he composed in high school (sample lyric: Fuck, fuck, fuck you, I fucking hate you, too”).
He also reconnects with old friends, including a drifter loser who likes to dance around to the Indigo Girls’ “Closer to Fine” and a high-school girlfriend to whom he delivers an apology about something she doesn’t even remember.
Episodic and as languorous as its main character, the film admirably refrains from easy explication, never exactly spelling out the reasons for Mikey’s emotional withdrawal. Best appreciated for its small comic moments and its all too convincing performances, “Momma’s Man” is a small-scale indie gem that could well achieve cult status.
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