Where’s Poppa? is an insane movie, a black comedy with George Segal as a young lawyer with an active death wish for his old Jewish mother, played by Ruth Gordon, whose senile eccentricities are ruining his career, sex life and health.
Robert Klane’s screenplay, adapted from his novel, is very close to tragedy, except that he, director Carl Reiner and an exceptional cast work from the firm conviction that everyone, at least everyone living in New York city, is insane.
Gordon, as the widowed mother, is in senile dementia constantly asking ‘Where’s Poppa?’ and scaring off nurses and Segal’s girlfriends with her bawdy eccentricities.
In her mental lapses she can’t remember her son is a grown man, and when he brings home Trish Van Devere the mother suddenly describes the size of her son’s sex organs as if he were a child.
Van Devere as a prospective nurse looks like the Angel of Mercy with her sweet pure face framed in a white cap, but she is also a little insane.