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Friday, 20 July 2018

Retro Review: Mother's Boys (1994)

Mother's Boys
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Peter Gallagher, Joanne Whalley-Kilmer, Joss Ackland, Vanessa Redgrave
Genre: Thriller
U.S Box Office Gross: over $737,000

Plot: After Jude Madigan abruptly deserts her family, her husband and sons slowly build a new life with another woman. But when Jude returns 3 years later, her dangerous obsession to reclaim her former life threatens to destroy everything

'How You Wished You Never Met This Mother'

A forgotten Jamie Lee Curtis thriller vehicle, with make-shift Lifetime movie- of- the- week production values, it sees Curtis as a mother from hell who after walking out on her family, returns 3 years later & uses her kids, more specifically her eldest son, Kes who she dupes & manipulates, to get her vengeance against her former husband, - who she abandoned & tries to seduce -, and his new girlfriend, Callie, of whom Jude sees as a massive hindrance between herself and Robert. She hatches a plan to get rid of Callie and reclaim her family again.

Other than Jamie Lee Curtis's horrid Blonde haircut, this against-type performance by Jamie Lee Curtis as the jilted - yet an unstable evil wacko woman, Jude occurred in the same year as True Lies, where she did it better as Helen opposite big Arnie. She also uses a body double in the scene where she is about to take a bath and there is an incestuous theme going on with the mother & one of her sons. Peter Gallagher and Joanne Whalley-Kilmer deliver below average to average performances, although Kilmer's character becomes more involved in the story during the last half hour.  

The first 40 mins was a bore, forgettable & so trite but after the ex-husband spurns the advances of his former wife, it gets better and more interesting. The suspense was surprisingly good, which I never expected & it went that extra mile in the thrills department, without being too overly violent or grotesque, which was a plus. 

This is a decent sort of hyperbolic Z-movie straight- to- DVD thriller trash that is akin to The Hand That Rocks The Cradle of the jealous wacko woman getting back on her ex, yet the twists elevate it to a watchable film. and it turns the screw a few times towards the end with Curtis relishing in her role. 

Distributors & production companies Miramax/Dimension did not hold advance screenings to Mother's Boys in 1994 and watching it, it shows as it later tanked at the U.S box office with takings of just over a measly $737,000. It just has that direct to DVD feel. Although, it still provides several thrills to keep fans of psychological thrillers satisfied and some viewers may feel it needed to have been edgier with an ending that is reminiscent of other low budget Z-movie thrillers. 

Final Verdict:

It's one of those slept on movies, especially psychological thrillers of the 1990s that audiences overlooked at the time, which whilst it's not anything that extraordinary or mindblowing, nor original with a plot that is executed in a similar fashion but with a tad more quality in say Adrian Lyne's Fatal Attraction, it's still gripping at times and watchable.

If you enjoyed Fatal Attraction and The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, then it's possible Mother's Boys will be for you also. 


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