Sunday, March 7, 2010

Her Only Child

Following up on the "crazy mom" theme from last week, I watched a film called Her Only Child (AKA Maternal Obsession). I was able to locate the trailer for it on YouTube, and it will give you a pretty good idea of how that shit went down. Check it out:

I'd like to note that "Good intentions were misdirected" will never be a threatening sentence, no matter how growly your voice is when you say it. Good effort, voiceover guy, but no dice.

So the eldest daughter from the Nanny is all grown up and living the sweet life as a mid-level insurance saleswoman named Lilly. She's successful at work, but her personal life sucks- unlucky in love and still living at home with mom in her mid-thirties. Now, living with your parents past a certain age is mildly embarrassing, but it isn't the end of the world. If you're lucky, your parents will give you your old room back and not charge you for utilities. If you're less fortunate, your mother will forget to take her tacklebox full of of anti-psychotic medications one morning and call you at work to come home and kill her hallucinations of giant spiders. Oh yes, Inez is a crazy person, and she reacts to her daughter's attempts to sever the apron strings like most people would react to...well, a giant spider hallucination. All flailing and yelling. Not pretty. In an opening scene, Lily attempts to not eat a cookie that her mother made for her. Her mother reacts by crying and throwing the cookies in the garbage. As always, Lifetime movies indulge foreshadowing with the subtle grace of the Killdozer.

Lily meets a dude at work named Larry. Larry seems like kind of a boring schmuck to me, but Lily goes out with him anyway. I guess dating just about anyone beats sitting at home with mom and helping her swat the flying elves away. Inez takes this about as well as you'd expect. She interrupts their first date by slicing a hunk out of her own arm (ew) and claiming it was an accident so Lily will come home. It's about this time that the movie reveals that Lily's boyfriends have a habit of mysteriously bailing on her just when things get serious. Lily continues to fail to connect the dots between Mommie Dearest and her vanishing paramours. You can't help but feel a little bad for Lily, whose admirable devotion to her clearly disturbed mother blinds her to the obvious.

Of course, it is also possible that Lily is stupid. The Lily Is Stupid theory receives some additional support when Inez runs a background check on Larry and discovers he is secretly married. You know what? I don't care how nice he is, a secret family should be a dealbreaker. Lily snubs him for a while but eventually allows him to cry a bunch over dinner and explain that his wife is holding up the divorce, he doesn't love her, blah blah blah. She doesn't question his ridonkulously flimsy explanation and their relationship is back on. LILY YOU ARE SO STUPID. I can kind of see why your mom is so overprotective. Without an overly-devoted caretaker, I can see you following the promise of a stranger's candy to your doom.

Fueled by this latest evidence that Lily can't make decisions on her own, Inez begins to take more drastic steps to break her up with Larry. When Lily and Larry take off for a romantic weekend, Inez attempts to make their adorable dog eat rat poison. The dog is smarter then Inez and Lily combined, so it doesn't work, but I was still worried. Inez then convinces him to eat a bucket of chocolate frosting. Not cool, Inez. I don't care if you kill your daughter and her stupid boyfriend, but you leave that terrier out of it. Lily does not go home, but her mother's incredibly stupid explanation for how the dog nearly died is finally enough to get her wondering exactly why every boyfriend she's had since high school has mysteriously vanished off of the face of the earth. She tracks down the last dude to bail on her, and he politely explains that he was going to propose to her, but a bunch of armed thugs tackled him and threatened to kill him if he didn't break off all contact with her. I shit you not. He also says that he was going to tell her about it, but he didn't want to make a big deal out of it.

Public Service Announcement: If you are ever dating someone, and armed thugs order you to stop, you should probably make a big deal out of it.

Lily goes home and screams at her mom for a while about how she needs to stop being so goddamn crazy. She also packs all her stuff up and flees to Larry's house. Inez does the logical thing and resolves to make her daughter move back in with her at gunpoint. She steals a gun from her office (?!), shows up at Larry's house, and threatens to shoot them all if Lily doesn't come home with her. Lily stands firm, so mom locks herself in the bathroom and tries to overdose on her anti-psychotic medication. Heartwarming!

In the end, Inez ends up in sort of a minimum-security hotel for crazy people. This is not actually what happens when you have a psychotic break, but god forbid that TV movie writers do any sort of research about the main plots of their films. Inez and Lily chat about Inez coming home soon, I guess we have a happy ending, and as far as I know the dog lives to see another day. Well done.

AWESOMENESS 7 (out of 20)

5 points for being relatively entertaining and super-weird. It wasn't amazing, but it was wacky enough to keep my interest. I'd like to give it a higher score, but it was mostly just derivative of other psycho obsession films that did it way better. As always, I reward any movie that has a cute dog in it some bonus points. You think Rusty's grading scale is arbitrary? Ha!

STAR POWER 2 (out of 10)

I love the Nanny, but Nicolette Tom is not famous. Nor is a dude that was on F/X (whatever the hell that is). The woman who plays Inez had a bit part in everything ever, so that's why she is so irritatingly familiar looking to you.

LIFETIMELINESS 5 (out of 10)

On first glance, this is incredibly Lifetime-y. It's all about mother-daughter relationships with some troubled romance for good measure. However, this is the only time in the history of Lifetime films that an overbearing mother was the problem in the film and not the solution. 5 points.

14. Sounds about right. Meh score for a meh film.