Grandma's Boy

Reviewed By Doug Bentin
Posted 01/18/06 16:39:03

"No, the wind is not blowing in from the stockyards."
1 stars (Sucks)

The script for “Grandma’s Boy” is one of the most unusual ones I’ve encountered in a long time, but I don’t mean that in a good way. It’s as if Barry Wernick, Allen Covert (who also stars in the movie) and Nick Swardson (who co-stars) sat around riffing on the kinds of things guys kid each other about when they’re in high school—or grad school but they’re pretending to still be in high school--and then wrote an opening scene in ten pages. Not satisfied with that, they wrote another ten page opening scene using mostly the same characters. And then a third one emerged.

The logical thing to do would be to pick one and toss the other, less worthy, two. But no, they turned them all in and director Nicholas Goosen filmed them all.

Covert is Alex, a mid-thirties former accountant turned video games tester. He and his colleagues play new games to find the bugs so J.P. (Joel David Moore), the Matrix-obsessed creator of the games can re-work the programming.

J.P.’s new game is nearing completion and its release date is fast approaching. Samantha (a so hot I’m embarrassed to think about her when my wife is in the room Linda Cardellini) is hired to keep the testers on track, and she soon develops a thing for uberslacker Alex.

The plot, if you’ll excuse the hyperbole, comes in when J.P., who also has a letch for Samantha, steals a new game developed by Alex and all must be set right. That’s it.

So where does the “Grandma” part come in? Our tester has been kicked out of his apartment because his roommate has been spending their rent money on Filipino hookers, and Alex accepts an invitation from his granny (Doris Roberts) to stay with her and her two elderly housemates, Grace and Bea (Shirley Jones and Shirley Knight). Shirley you jest.

Stop groaning. That’s the funniest line you’re going to find associated with this fermenting pit of numero doso.

We’re supposed to laugh at such knee-slappers as old ladies playing video games, innocently drinking tea laced with weed—a pot of tea, indeed—and getting horny and pursuing nerdy game testers. Let me tell you something: the idea that old women acting like young potheads is funny, or that hearing them curse or belch or fart is funny, or that anything else they do in this dreadful assisted care center of a movie is funny is wrong to the point of perversity.

The ladies learn the joy of getting stoned and having wild parties, and he learns—damned if I know what he learns. Nothing, I think. Oh yeah, love is good and jealousy is bad.

It’s all just a string from which to hang a series of unlikely gags that don’t tie together very well and a plot so thin you couldn’t use it to wipe a mouse’s, uh, nose. Believe me, a good time will not be had by all.

What this movie does is break your heart with the realization that this shit is probably the best thing that has been offered to Shirley Jones since she reached That Certain Age. It presents a similar dilemma to the one I faced with “The Ringer” a few weeks ago. Even if these fine actresses are willing to be good sports and allow themselves to be exploited , they’re still being exploited.

This picture’s abuse of everyone in it left a bad taste in my mouth. All the men are sexually-bewildered morons and the women are there to be laughed at or ogled. I didn’t do any laughing but I ogled Cardelinni like a sonuvabitch.

If there were even a smidgeon of taste or genuine joy to the affair, it would be different, but it’s surely the saddest comedy we’ll see all year.

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