(Air Date: Week Of 1/8/97)
Not that it matters to either of us, but I suspect that if Albert Brooks and I found ourselves stuck in an elevator together, we'd both be bored out of our skulls within five minutes. In film after film, many quite popular, whatever charm Brooks possesses continues to escape me. His latest, "Mother", stars Debbie Reynolds, now 64. She is charming in the role of a mother who has to cope with the return of her 49-year-old son to the family home. He wants to discover what makes their relationship tick. She is mildly irritated at the disruption of her familiar routines, including sex with a fellow named Charles, but soon slips into the rituals that defined her son's childhood.
Her other son is played by Rob Morrow, 34, who is a terrible actor on the big screen. Morrow winces at the fact that he made a silly movie called "Private Resort" in 1984, but look at co-star Johnny Depp's career since then and then look at Morrow's work. (You can stop after or, better yet, BEFORE watching him mug through "Quiz Show", "Last Dance" & "Mother".) The thought of Albert being alone with Debbie drives Rob nuts. No, this isn't "Spanking The Monkey", or anything like that, but Rob is so disturbed that Albert may be receiving more attention from Debbie while under her roof that he flies back home in near-hysterics. Does this family & / or situation sound remotely like yours? If so, "Mother" may be YOUR movie. For me, it was yet another entry in the FILM AS TORTURE genre, right down there with last week's "Evita". And the current buzz is that both Debbie Reynolds & Madonna are Oscar contenders, although an Oscar nod for Debbie at this point in her career would at least be better than a gold watch. Both Brooks' material and direction are unworthy of her, though: "Mother" is slow & sluggish and NOT FUNNY.
As we approach the year 2000, I sort of hope that the solipsism of the Baby Boomer will vanish from the big screen, even if it infests the tube till they nail the last coffin shut in the middle of the next century. It's good to see Debbie Reynolds looking and sounding like a Spring day. That's about the best I can say about an interminable experience like "Mother", which opens nationally this week.
Copyright 1997 Monica Sullivan
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