Opposite the feeling most adults get after such a trip, Mikey decides his holiday visit with his parents just wasn’t enough, in “Momma’s Man.”
Lying about trouble with his flight, Mikey (Matt Boren) leaves the airport and heads back to his childhood home, insisting to both mom and dad ” and his wife ” that he’ll just stay a few extra days.
Retreating inside himself, his stay ends up lasting for more than that. Eventually ignoring calls from his wife and infant daughter in California, he hunkers down for a mid-life breakdown, forgoing fast cars and shiny toys for boxes of high school memorabilia and the comfort of a mom who very much misses her son.
He defensively justifies his visit to his wife, telling her how hard it is to see his parents age, but eventually turns off his phone to avoid explaining things to her or giving her any idea when he might return, and instead sifts through letters from ex-girlfriends. Finding his guitar and a notebook of terrible lyrics, Mikey continues bathing in the past and slipping into a static state of his more careless past.
QUIET, COMFY MANIA
While Dad was excited to see his son for a while, he becomes understandably concerned that Mikey doesn’t seem compelled to leave. The worry grows with his son’s slow decent into quiet, comfy mania as Mikey regresses to the point of depression and near non-function, where he can barely leave his parent’s apartment.
Most of the strengths in “Momma’s Man” come from the authentic performances from Mikey’s parents, writer/director Azazel Jacobs’ real-life folks, Flo and Ken Jacobs. The concern and parental worry is convincing and real, warm but serious.
The man-who-wants-to-be-a-kid-again is a more-than-well-worn trope ” it’s trite, and “Momma’s Man” readily suffers from the convention. But Jacobs does show restraint, opting not to coax Mikey’s character into a palpable “search” for himself where he has to right a past wrong or prove something to someone. Instead, Jacobs creates a man all too eager to lose himself.
Filmed in his parent’s Tribeca loft apartment and produced on the most micro of budgets, the film was hailed as a breakaway indie phenomenon after its screening at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The movie has a mood and pacing that can only be imparted by a shoestring budget and a passionate director, but “Momma’s Man” is little more than a character study and, minus a neatly beautiful final moment, fails to reveal or really entertain.
“Momma’s Man” screens Thursday through Sunday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. “Joe Wertz