Momma’s Man is the story of middle aged man, Mike, who abandons his wife and baby in California, to return to the apartment he grew up in with his parents in New York. His parents are pleasantly surprised to see their son, but it’s odd that he showed up all of a sudden. Mike says he flew out cause of work, and there was a screw up with the plane, so he has to stay for a night. A night becomes a weekend which becomes another week etc. “Mikey” as his parents call him, has fled adulthood for the simple comfort of the childhood he once knew. He spends nearly all his time at home in his old room, flipping through old comic books, notes, song lyrics and finding all sorts of mementos.
His wife calls him constantly, trying to get an explanation. Eventually, Mike turns his phone off, silencing his wife, and his real life. The parents play dumb for most of the time. part of them does want him to stay home and be their little boy. Especially the mom, who longs for when Mike was a child, and when she was a younger woman. Seemingly everyone portrayed dreams of being in a different state of their life. Regret and nostalgia being a powerful combo to consume the present.
Of course he can’t stay forever, but what will motivate him to move on? I believe it comes when he meets with an old girlfriend from high school. In his room he finds a note from Bridgette, a girl he liked. In it she curses him for hurting her. This prompts Mike to call her and ask her to get some coffee. He explains to Bridgette that he wanted to meet so he could apologize for hurting her. One must wonder, however, if his real reason is to have yet another memento to connect him to simpler times. When he sees her, and the baby she brings to the coffee shop, she doesn’t connect him to the past, but reaffirms his responsibilities as an adult, a father and as a husband.
It’s very easy to relate to this film. Growing up is scary, even when you’ve already done it. Being young, or at least younger is something everyone thinks about. Once you’ve started a family, you still fondly think of when you’d lie in your mother’s arms. Perhaps the most touching moment of the film is when the mom embraces Mikey and he begins to cry. In an odd way, Momma’s Man is at least partly an ode to parents and their unique bond to their children. I figure that’s why writer/director Azazel Jacobs casted his real parents for the role, and shot the movie in the actual apartment he grew up in. In a way, Azazel Jacobs, like Mike, returns home to capture his childhood.
Jacobs is a very talented film maker. Momma’s Man moves a little too slowly, but it’s admirable that this story was given such a treatment. Instead of making the movie follow a traditional narrative, Jacobs merely presents an environment and explores the behavior of the people within it. Such a method should be praised, as it is far too rare in film. I eagerly look forward to his next project.
As thoughtful as the film is, the slow pace is damaging. Personally, I usually appreciate a slow careful pace, but here, even I was a little antsy. If you need something exciting or particularly funny in a movie it may be best to avoid Momma’s Man. If you can be patient, I recommend you give it a try. It’s not the greatest movie, but it’ll give you something to think about, and it will make you feel. Two of the most important things a movie can do.