It's depressing to see a fine actress and lovely lady like Susan Sarandon reduced to doing this kind of comic shtick. There isn't much here you couldn't find in a 1950s TV sitcom about an "interfering mother" -- about the only surprise is that the character of Marnie Minervini is not Jewish, but Italian. (Speaking of that: would an Italian mother be bringing over BAGELS? not biscotti or cannoli? Really?)
The stereotype of the bossy smother-mother -- well-intentioned, but SO overbearing -- is a very, very old trope and yet the director here, Lorene Scafaria, seems to think she's struck comedic gold. A bonus feature on the DVD is an interview with Scafaria and her own real life mother, on whom the film characters are based...and it comes across as creepy & troubling, not cute. About the only thing original is that the "smother-mother" here, Marnie, is a baby boomer and not a member of the Greatest Generation...if you fall into that demographic, it is a bit jarring to realize you are now among the OLDSTERS being mocked, and not the "young hip generation" anymore.
But the problem with THAT, is when an overbearing mother of that former era was caricatured (unfairly I think), we KNEW someone of that age was a lifetime homemaker & mother, with no real education or career outside of that. So when their kids were grown and their spouse passed away, they had literally NOTHING else in their lives. That is very hard to accept when it comes to a boomer mom, who almost certainly had a career, went to college, etc. If we take Rose Bryne (age 38) and Susan Sarandon (who looks amazing at 70) literally...she did not have her daughter until she was 32.
Yet there is no sense whatsoever that Marnie has ever had a profession or career, even part-time...that she had any life beyond marriage & kids...that she has same-age friends (and not just her daughter's friends)...or a life in Manhattan that she has left behind...or that she has always hovered over Lori (Bryne) who at least in her late 30s, for Lori's entire life.
That's because Marnie is reduced to a stereotype; a meddling, clinging old crone with no life of her own. If Scarfaria thinks this about her own mother (besides mining her for lame jokes), it is pretty darn sad.
Of course the vehicle that finally gives Marnie "a new life" and gets her claws out of Lori (a little) has to be....a new romance, supplied by J.K. Simmons (who's as charming as always). Indeed, nice single men in their 70s are clamoring for gorgeous Marnie here, which frankly is not something I've seen much for women I know over 60. And in LOS ANGELES! In other words: it is apparently not possible for a woman to heal from widowhood or loneliness or clinginess...unless she finds a new lover/husband.
The other kinda distasteful element of the film is that Scarfaria (either reflecting real life OR a kind of cultural elitism) has made Marnie staggeringly wealthy. Of course, some people ARE really wealthy, but THAT also means the story is far less universal. Most older widows struggle financially -- your Social Security check is cut by a third when your spouse dies -- but not Marnie! SHE has apparently inherited MILLIONS from her husband, about which she acts as if he were a great-uncle who left her an unexpected inheritance. (Wasn't their wealth, their mutual assets, HALF HERS all this time? why was she SURPRISED to get it?)
Out of a combination of guilt, wealth, control, naivete, and self-destructiveness, Marnie seems driven to spend her millions inappropriately -- buying expensive Apple electronics for people she barely knows, and throwing a very costly, large wedding for two ALREADY MARRIED lesbian friends of her daughter ....a couple whom she has just met! -- at first offering them $13,000 as tax-free gift....but then, paying entirely for a wedding which is clearly more than 2-3 times that much, being a catered affair on a rented YACHT and including a very costly designer dress for the bride!
Though the whole concept is tedious, I think that last part lost the whole believability aspect for me. Even sitcoms have to be grounded in something relatable. If my mother spent a sizable chunk of her assets (and my future inheritance!) on a stranger's gay wedding (and not MY OWN wedding!)...I'd be properly concerned she was mentally ill or even showing signs of impending dementia. That isn't cute. It's troubling. It is troubling if the lesbian couple accepts this much money from a wealthy stranger, even as a gift. NOBODY here is behaving like anything resembling a real, normal human being in 2015.
Not funny. Sad.
Action / Comedy / Drama / Romance
Action / Comedy / Drama / Romance
An aging widow from New York City follows her daughter to Los Angeles in hopes of starting a new life after her husband passes away.
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September 08, 2016 at 07:46 PM