Mother's Boys (1994)
Jamie Lee does Psycho Mother
Whilst her mother fell foul to a psycho with a knife in a shower, Jamie Lee Curtis gets to play the psycho in "Mother's Boys" a 90s thriller about an estranged mother hell bent on not just getting her son's back but also her husband. And like other 90s thrillers "Mother's Boys" has an element of eroticism going on thanks to Jamie Lee Curtis playing the estranged mother in a sexually unsettling way. But sadly whilst not a terrible attempt at a thriller it is contrived and pretty much memorable for those erotic scenes and scenes featuring Jamie Lee Curtis topless.
Having cleared off for 3 years Jude Madigan (Jamie Lee Curtis - My Girl 2) decides she wants to go back to her husband Robert (Peter Gallagher - Malice) and their three sons. But on learning that Robert is dating Assistant Principal Callie Harland (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer) Jude turns nasty, trying to seduce Robert whilst getting into the head of their eldest son Kes (Luke Edwards) to turn him and his brothers against Callie.
"Mother's Boys" starts off reasonably well from discovering that Jude plans to return to her family to learning that her eldest son Kes still hasn't gotten over the sense of abandonment he felt when she just left. Some of it maybe a bit far fetched such as a dissection scene featuring frogs which turns into more of a slasher movie but it is entertaining especially as we quickly come to realise that Jude is dangerously unsettled.
The trouble is the longer "Mother's Boys" goes on not only does it become more and more far fetched but it all seems so staged. The staged part comes from numerous locations which areeye catching, we have Robert's offices which at night have a backdrop of blue lights, perfect for an erotic scene, and then there is a scene at an observatory where Jude and Robert end up standing in front of a moon sculpture. It may look good but it also looks false and staged which unfortunately makes things cheesy. It doesn't help matters that director Yves Simoneau constantly employs shadows across people's faces, obviously done to try and suggest something but ending up looking too unnatural.
And as for how the storyline develops lets just say it finds new levels of being far fetched and contrived with things happening which just don't feel believable. I won't give too much detail but from a game where Carrie ends up in handcuffs to a scene featuring young Kes driving like a pro it just add to that sense of being nonsense. The thing is that once you accept this and just go with the flow "Mother's Boys" is entertaining partly for being so contrived.
On the subject of contrived we have the eroticism which frankly is the most memorable part of "Mother's Boys" and that means that Jamie Lee Curtis as Jude also ends up the most memorable thing because she is at the centre of all this eroticism. Again it all feels very staged from Jude parading around her apartment in a gown which reveals her breasts to a rather surprising bath scene where she stands up naked in front of her son Kes for him to look at her caesarean scar. It is the movies most unsettling scene which works not because of the nudity but the delivery from Jamie Lee Curtis who delivers this uneasy element of being controlled yet deranged.
Aside from Jamie Les Curtis's entertaining turn as a psycho mother the rest of the cast sway from solid to solid over acting. I get a sense that director Yves Simoneau probably was the cause of this because with the rest of "Mother's Boys" feeling staged and false the acting from the likes of Peter Gallagher, Joanne Whalley and Luke Edwards sort of fits the movie's tone. And what is worse is the casting of Vanessa Redgrave as Jude's mother, not because of Redgrave's acting ability but because the character does not fit in with the rest of the movie, it's too much of a contrast.
What this all boils down to is that "Mother's Boys" is unfortunately a wasted opportunity to make a decent, suspenseful, erotic thriller with a good cast. It is a case that in the end "Mother's Boys" feels far fetched and contrived with the only thing really being memorable is the erotic scenes featuring Jamie Lee Curtis as a psycho mother.
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