A committed perf by Rebecca De Mornay as a woman who won't let go of her daughter's figure skating career -- even after the daughter has -- isn't enough to ballast semi-serious, semi-satiric "American Venus."
A committed perf by Rebecca De Mornay as a woman who won’t let go of her daughter’s figure skating career — even after the daughter has — isn’t enough to ballast semi-serious, semi-satiric “American Venus.” Canadian production follows numerous U.S. portraits of similar monster-stage-motherdom, many telepic showcases for other worthy actresses (notably Holly Hunter’s “The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom”), reprising their themes sans much definition or point. Forgettable, routinely mounted treatment of a superficially colorful premise marks this for broadcast sales.
Spooked by a rival’s stellar turn, Jenna Lane (Jane McGregor) flubs a national-level competition she’d long trained for, infuriating mom Celia (De Mornay). Jenna then announces she’s finished with skating, and flees Spokane to attempt a normal collegiate lifestyle in Vancouver, leaving no forwarding address. Yet ma can’t be shaken so easily. Writer-helmer Bruce Sweeney can’t decide if the lead figure is a comic caricature or pathetic mental case; his resolution is so desultory it feels like he ceased caring.