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Tim Hamilton
Jon Heder, Diane Keaton, Jeff Daniels, Anna Faris, Dorian Missick, Sarah Chalke, Eli Wallach
Writing Credits:
Hank Nelken

Jon Heder, Diane Keaton, and Anna Faris star in this comedy about a 29-year-old man (Heder) who still lives with his mother. He has no desire to leave, until his mother's new boyfriend (Jeff Daniels) moves into their precious little world and forces him to grow up quick.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$13.939 thousand on 4 screens. (Romania)

Rated PG-13

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Fullscreen 1.33:1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $27.98
Release Date: 6/3/08

• Audio Commentary with Director Tim Hamilton
• Additional Scenes
• Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Mama's Boy (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 5, 2008)

Although the inexplicable success of 2004’s Napoleon Dynamite made him an instant star, Jon Heder has yet to do much with that success. 2007’s Blades of Glory was a hit mainly due to the presence of Will Ferrell, and Heder’s other films haven’t gone anywhere.

Toss another dud onto the pile with 2007’s limp comedy Mama’s Boy. Even at the advanced age of 29, Jeffrey Mannus (Heder) continues to live at home with his mother Jan (Diane Keaton). Jeffrey’s dad passed back in 1990, and he’s monopolized his mom’s attention ever since then. She pampers him and allows him to lead a super-cushy life that doesn’t exactly encourage him to strike out on his own.

A challenge enters Jeffrey’s life, however, when his mom meets Mert Rosenbloom (Jeff Daniels). Jan and Mert enter into a whirlwind romance, all to the extreme dissatisfaction of Jeffrey. We follow the various conflicts as Jeffrey tries to deal with his new world order.

While a good actor can elevate mediocre or even bad material, it’s also true that a weak performer can sabotage decent work. Although I don’t think that Mama’s Boy would’ve been anything special under the best of circumstances, Heder actively harms the flick. As an actor, he displays two modes: wildly over the top or ridiculously understated. Dynamite showed him in the latter mode, while he goes in the opposite direction for Boy.

And that’s a problem, as Heder stands out like a sore thumb among the other actors. With Keaton, Daniels, Anna Faris and Eli Wallach involved, Boy actually boasts a good little cast. They don’t go for truly naturalistic performances, as they tend to lean toward the broad side of the street, but they stay real enough.

At least compared to Heder, a performer who never met scenery he couldn’t chew. A consistently charmless actor, Heder overdoes virtually every line. He reads them in a relentlessly aggressive and annoying manner. He plays Jeffrey like a character in a permanent snit, and that trend certainly doesn’t endear him to the audience. Perhaps someone like Will Ferrell could’ve made Jeffrey tolerable, but Heder lacks the range or talent to create anything other than a totally unlikable personality.

Nothing else in Mama’s Boy stands out as positive enough to overcome Heder’s amateurish performance. Granted, even with a more capable actor, I’m not sure if the flick would’ve become enjoyable; it lacks any real inspiration, and it feels pretty stale much of the time. Nonetheless, with Heder in the lead, it puts us through a long, unpleasant 93 minutes.

The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C/ Bonus C+

Mama’s Boy appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 and in a fullscreen version on this double-sided, single-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. This was a consistently lackluster transfer.

Sharpness usually looked pretty decent. Some scenes came across as a bit blocky, and compression artifacts created somewhat muddy definition at times, but the flick generally seemed reasonably well-defined. No issues with shimmering or source flaws occurred, but I noticed light edge enhancement.

Colors were positive. The flick used a natural palette that came across as acceptably lively and full. Blacks were adequate but not much better, as they tended to be somewhat bland. Shadows also could be a bit dense. This was a watchable image but not one that ever excelled.

Similar thoughts greeted the decidedly unambitious Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Mama’s Boy. At no point did the soundfield muster much to make it memorable. The mix emphasized general atmosphere and nothing more. We got good stereo music and the effects added a little environmental material, but those elements failed to add much. The surrounds remained exceedingly passive as well. This was a bland soundscape.

At least audio quality was fine. Music showed good range and delineation, with nice clarity throughout the film. Speech seemed natural and concise, and effects fell into the same range. Those elements never pushed the envelope, but they were perfectly adequate. The sound was acceptable for a comedy of this sort.

Only a few extras flesh out the set. We open with an audio commentary from director Tim Hamilton. He provides a running, screen-specific chat that looks at how he came onto the project, cast, characters and performers, sets and locations, score and musical choices, visual design, and a few other issues.

Overall, Hamilton provides a pretty good commentary. A few lulls occur, but he usually keeps things interesting and informative. The commentary is certainly more enjoyable than the movie it supports.

Four Additional Scenes run a total of six minutes, 17 seconds. The longest one comes first, as it shows Jeffrey’s attempt to apologize to Mert. We also get a sequence that offers a little more build-up for the film’s ending, another in which Seymour and Jeffrey play Scrabble, and an extension to the Nora/Jeffrey road trip in which he confesses his first sexual experience. All are decidedly inconsequential, so don’t expect anything interesting here.

A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for the Semi Pro, Over Her Dead Body, Get Smart and Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show. No trailer for Mama’s Boy appears here.

If you want some big laughs, look somewhere other than Mama’s Boy. Heck, if you want even minor chuckles, you’ll need to go to another source, as this flick irritates and lacks even rudimentary entertainment value. The DVD provides mediocre picture and audio as well as extras supplemented by a pretty good commentary. Nonetheless, this is a lackluster release for a bad movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.1818 Stars Number of Votes: 11
3 3:
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