Elegant style and amiable cast can’t conceal the silliness of “Mother’s Boys, ” an unsuspenseful variation of the yuppie-in-peril thriller. Jamie Lee Curtis stars as the “mother from hell.” Miramax/Dimension understandably did not hold advance screenings for this film, which will enjoy a longer life on the video shelf than in movie houses.
Set in L.A., story begins as Jude (Curtis), an attractive woman who deserted her husband (Peter Gallagher) and three sons without any explanation, suddenly returns, determined to win back her family. Jude is convinced that her hubby still loves her, even though he is now attached to Callie (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer), the warm and supportive assistant principal at his son’s school.
When begging forgiveness and other “charming” strategies fail, Jude resorts to manipulating eldest son Kes (Luke Edwards), who had suffered the most from her abandonment. She’s not above buying her kids expensive gifts, taking them to a planetarium and, in pic’s most controversial scene, demonstrating to Kes in full nudity her scar from his birth, which she sees as a symbol of their special bond.
Not much can be praised about “Mother’s Boys,” a film that has an uninteresting beginning, an exploitative middle that actually cheats by genre standards, and a ludicrous climax that is borderline laughable. The few suspenseful moments generated by Canadian helmer Yves Simoneau are unfairly earned.
Elliot Davis’ fancy lensing only accentuates the predictably slender plot of the movie.
Fans of former scream queen Curtis might get a kick out of seeing her not as a frightful victim, but as an erotic, manipulative avenger. The attractive Gallagher does what he can with his poorly written role. The only performer who rises above the material is the luminous Vanessa Redgrave, as Curtis’ sensitive mother.