Smother DVD Review

114

Just in time for Mothers Day and none too soon, Vince Di Meglio’s Smother is not exactly unequivocal accolades for the mom in your life, nor is it Mommie Dearest packing closet hangers. But there’s a decided appreciation for the woman who raised you, warts and all. And while certainly not a spin on the less pleasant details in guiding you along that slippery slope from birth to adulthood, there’s quite a bit of charming when not gross-lite damage control and debriefing of an assortment of lingering childhood grudges.

Diane Keaton is nutty when not nagging Marilyn, mother of twentysomething Noah (Dax Shepard), a glum spouse who’s just been laid off from his job as a physical therapist for not figuring out ways to overcharge the patients. Harboring resentments from a childhood spent with a needy and nosy in the extreme mother in the household, Noah has also been avoiding sex with his wife Clare (Liv Tyler) because he fears that particular repeat performance of raising depressed and unforgiving tots of his own.

Family dysfunction issues reach a boiling point when Mom shows up one Hallowee night uninvited, accompanied by her many dogs, and dressed as a jack-o’-lantern. It seems that she suspects her husband of cheating, and has moved out to live with her clearly displeased son for who knows how long. Following a variety of additional assorted mayhem, including mother and son simultaneously finding employment at the same store and being summarily fired together, pet peeves, canine and otherwise, are sort of resolved. And with all parties concerned taking some blame in heartwarming ways, for the usual Mommy blame game rampant on screen these days.

Smother is oddly affectionate and zany, and Keaton exudes kooky warmth to spare. And if there’s a message to this movie, it’s be careful that you don’t turn into your mom, no matter which gender you happen to be.

Screen Media Films

Rated PG-13

3 stars

DVD Features: Director’s Commentary; Behind The Scenes Featurette.

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network's Arts Express.