out of Five
Running time: 94
Enjoyable, thought-provoking and emotionally engaging independent drama with a great central performance from Matt Boren.
What's it all about?
Matt Boren plays Mikey, a thirtysomething businessman who's meant to be heading back to his wife (Dana Varon) and baby in California after visiting his artistic parents (Ken and Flo Jacobs, writer-director Azazel Jacob's actual parents) in their New York loft. Instead, he reappears on the doorstep of his childhood home with a vague story about his flight being cancelled and his parents are only too happy to have him stay for a few more hours.
However, as the days pass, Mikey shows little sign of wanting to return home: he refuses to answer his wife's increasingly frazzled calls, secretly tells his boss that he needs to stay on because his mother is sick, and holes himself up in his old room unpacking boxes of comics and toys while slouching around in his pants and calling old girlfriends.
Matt Boren is perfect as Mikey – his perpetually blank face keeps you guessing as to how bad the situation really is. There's also strong support from Pierro Arcilesi as his just-out-of-jail best friend, who's also living back home with his mother.
The script is excellent and packed with subtle details that really illustrate Jacobs' understanding of the power of nostalgia (he should do – the weirdly laid-out apartment is his actual childhood home). In fact, if you're over the age of 30, the first things you'll want to do after seeing the film are a) call your parents and b) arrange a trip home so that you can root through boxes of all your old stuff.
Jacobs' direction is assured throughout and he orchestrates several terrific scenes, many of which are both excruciating and funny at the same time, such as Mikey buying beer for some teenagers and then standing around awkwardly hoping to be asked to join them.
Momma’s Man is a superbly written, beautifully acted and impeccably directed drama that is both funny and surprisingly moving. Highly recommended.