Ed & His Dead Mother

Director: Jonathan Wacks

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

With a cast headed by Steve Buscemi as Edward Chilton & Ned Beatty as his horndog uncle, the offbeat comedy-horror of Ed & His Dead Mother (aka Motherhood aka Bon Appetit, Mama, 1993) should have been a lot funnier, or failing that a lot more horrific. But it is so skittish of its own material, & so badly written over all, as to be deadly dull with scarsely a laugh.

The writing is so awful that the one-note excuse for "humor" scarsely takes characterization into account. Both Ed's attorney (Eric Christmas) & his Uncle Benny have to deliver the same kind of "funny" lines with too many synonyms or similes strung together, which was not funny in the first place, & not apt to be done by two unrelated characters in a row. It's just an author's shtick with the cast taking turns telling the same bad jokes.

The premise had a certain sleezy promise. Ed is a momma's boy whose momma died a year before the story opens. He can't get past the loss. A salesman (John Glover struggling to save bad material with his trademark sinister charm) offers to bring Ed's mother back to life for a mere $1,000. Of course it will cost a great deal more to get her back in the grave.

Ed makes every effort to adjust to his reanimated mother's ghoulish bug-eating murdering ways, since she does also bake pies & clean the house & take proper care of her sonny boy. But she gets increasingly aggressively dangerous to anyone outside her family, whyich makes it particularly unfortunate that Ed has for the first time in his life met a girl (Sam Jenkins) & fallen in unexpectedly reciprocated love.

Anything potentially grotesque or gory happens off-screen so this remains a family film with a full safety ratio. The director's primary work has been episodic television & this film very much has a for-TV air about it. In fact, it might seem more entertaining if sandwiched in amidst other free-tv pablum, but viewed as a film among films it delivers very little.

It could well have its audience even so. I can imagine that anyone who would like Scooby-doo movies & similarly obnoxious "family" or kid films, or can actually laugh out loud at anything with Rob Schneider in it, ought to find more than that to like about Ed & his momma because it at least has an interesting cast.

Searching damned hard for anything to praise, Miriam Margoles as Reani-mommy works up some great facial expressions & makes a delightful frump-loony comedy-ghoul. But even her total commitment to a silly role doesn't upraise the film until almost the very end, when she has been beheaded by Ed & is trying to trick him into giving her one last kiss goodbye. I almost gave up on this crappy film several times, but I was kind of glad I stuck in out in order to see Margoles' last scene.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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