short skirts and spiky stiletto heels, Curtis at first seems genuinely repentant; but then she starts poisoning the boys’ minds with lies about their father and surrogate mother. There is also one particularly creepy scene where Curtis asks her eldest son (luke Edwards) to bring her the portable phone while she languishes, allurineg naked in the bath. This hint of incest is more explicit in Bernard Tarvis’s source novel, but here its potential subversiveness goes for nothing. llot content with the boys’ love, however, Curtis also makes a play for Gallagher, and it is his refusal of her sexual advances that percipitates her final, all-out attack.
The major problem here is that director Yves Simoneau seems to think that he’s above making a mere
MOTHER’S BOYS ._.._- ‘ i I - .’ l
,3", ( _ A. thriller; filling the screen with stylish ‘lleglects such essentials as pl t. character. images, over-dressed sets and
atmosphere and, above all. suspense.’
Just when you thought every conceivable permutation of the ‘home invasion’ plot had been done to death, so to speak, along comes this flashy, vapid variation on that well-worn theme. The twist here is that the ‘happy family’ consists of Peter Gallagher, his three kids aged twelve, ten and six, and his school teacher girlfriend Joanne Whalley-Kilmer. And the invader is not some scheming home-wrecker, but the children’s ‘natural’ mother, Jamie Lee Curtis, who abandoned them three years before but has now come back to claim her share of their affections.
Despite a penchant for fast cars,
immaculately designed costumes, he neglects such essentials as plot, character, atmosphere and, above all, suspense. A couple of shock-cuts aside, there is a dismal lack of tension, the already ludicrous plot finally degenerating into laughable farce with an absurd cliff-hanger finale. Utterly lifeless and bereft of either emotional or intellectual content, this plays like a Joel (Flatliners) Schumacher film on mogadon. (liigel Floyd)
Mother’s Boys (15) (Yves Simoneau, US, 1993) Jamie lee Curtis, Peter Gallagher, Joanne Whalley-Kilmer. 95 mins. From Fri 29. General release.
_ wroow’s PEAK
The village of Kllshannon has all of the picturesque charm of many an Irish village of the 1920s, but the outlying cluster of houses known as Widow’s Peak is more of a nasty growth on its face than a beauty spot. Populated only by black-clad women whose husbands are long deceased, Widow’s Peak and its inhabitants dominate village life, laying down its laws, taking some unfortunates under their wing - including shy spinster Miss O’llare (Mia Farrow) - but danning others to social death. This is a closed, malicious community held in the iron grasp of Mrs Doyle Counihan (Joan Plowright) who drives about town, waving from her car like the
'llueen Mother from Hell.
Into this bastion of eccentricity comes the Americanised Edwina Broome (llatasha Richardson), a glamorous war widow whose ‘modern’, disruptive ways raise the wrath of Mrs lioer Counihan and the iealousies of Miss 0’llare. Intrigue abounds,
Widow's Peak: ‘delightful penmanship’ particularly when Edwina allies herself with her arch adversary’s molly-coddled son Godfrey (Adrian Dunbar).
llugh leonard’s script has been in development for around a decade and, although piling on the cosiness of its stereotypical setting, it harks back to the days of the great Ealing comedies when dialogue mattered and quirky characters had a spark of originality. Plowright is in total command as she spews out her biting lines, and director John lrvin seems to be enjoying a change of pace from the action movies that made his name. Okay, so the plot twist is a bit contrived in a Scooby Doo way, but just sit back and wallow in the delightful penmanship and full- blooded performances. (Alan Morrison)
Widow’s Peak (PG) (John Irvin, UK, 1993) Joan Plowright, Mia Farrow, Natasha Richardson. 101 mins. From Fri 22. Glasgow: Odeon. Edinburgh: lideon.
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The List 22 April—5 May 1994 29