Peter Pan meets deadbeat dad in this prosaic, somewhat uninspiring US indie feature about a man suffering from mid-life crisis, who uses his parents’ house as a sanctuary from the demands and responsibilities of the outside world.

Mikey (Matt Boren), the middle-aged Momma’s Man of the title, spends the duration of the film creating an increasingly elaborate web of lies in order to escape the responsibility of his wife and newborn baby in California, by remaining for as long as possible at his parents’ house in New York and regressing back to the life of a spoilt 15-year-old, who manipulates those around him in order to avoid facing up to reality.

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Your opinion of this film will basically come down to how you feel about the central character, so let me begin by leaving you in no doubt that I found him pathetic, pointless, and not very engaging, which is, co-incidentally, how I would choose to describe the film. A lack of background to his life gives us no basis to understand or sympathise with him and he displays no redeeming characteristics, as a pathological liar whose spurious pretences to prevent a return to his neglected wife and child go so far as to claim that his mum is ill and that his wife has had an affair.

On top of this, he has a truly nauseating mother who refuses to accept the overwhelming evidence of her son’s regressive behaviour and mid-life crisis in favour of believing his decidedly weak lies. After a very short time I found myself wishing someone would give him a slap across the face and tell him to get on with it. Even though his wife and child only have very small cameos in the film, it is still much easier to relate to and sympathise with them than it is with the man who seems content to abandon them while seeking a return to his (seemingly generic) rebellious teenage years.

Both Mikey (and indeed the film itself) are so self-indulgent that I found them impossible to identify, sympathise or empathise with and, in any case, it’s clear from the outset that he feels more sorry for himself than the viewer ever could. On a more positive note, the acting is generally very good, in its deliberately low-key indie way, and the film is very well shot on 16mm, with an edge of reality emphasised by the innovative decision to use the writer’s own parents to play mum and dad.

But ultimately, no amount of thoughtful camerawork or authenticity can make up for such dull, uninspiring subject matter, and my patience with the central character expired long before the film eventually dragged itself towards the end of its running time. For these reasons, I can’t recommend this.

Reviewed on: 12 Oct 2009
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Momma's Man packshot
A man in mid-life crisis retreats to his parents' loft.
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Director: Azazel Jacobs

Writer: Azazel Jacobs

Starring: Flo Jacobs, Ken Jacobs, Dana Varon

Year: 2008

Runtime: 94 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: USA

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