Cropped 90s hair, smug smile, killer shoulder pads and everything in red, red, red; it was only a matter of time before someone cast Hollywood’s favourite final girl as the one with the penchant for murder. Sadly, Mother’s Boys is the only film in which Jamie Lee Curtis gets to flex her muscles as a first class psycho bitch, but my God is she magnificently malignant.
I’ve been signed up to the cult of Jamie Lee since I was about eight when I saw Fierce Creatures and, after having professed many times that Halloween is my favourite horror film, it should come as no surprise that I have seen just about every film she has ever been in.
The plot is as follows; Jude (Jamie Lee Curtis) abandoned her husband and three sons three years ago. Upon discovering that her husband Robert (Peter Gallagher) has filed for divorce and has a new woman in his life in the form of dowdy assistant principal Callie (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer), Jude returns in an attempt to get her family back. At first she endeavours to turn the children against Callie, claiming she was the reason she left, whilst trying to seduce Robert, but when her ploy fails she elicits the help of her eldest son Kes and things quickly spiral out of control.
Kes played by Luke Edwards (American Pie 2 and Jeepers Creepers 2) is “a wicked boy, just like her (Jude)” if you’re to believe his Nan, played by the always stellar Vanessa Redgrave…and I’m inclined to think she’s right. The opening credits – a ‘tasteful’ 90s montage of mist, dripping water and Jamie Lee’s smoking (literal not metaphorical) silhouette – seem to suggest that Kes predicted the return of Mommy Dearest. Judging from the way he goes to town with a scalpel on a dead frog in science class after hearing how they abandon their spawn at birth, I think it’s safe to say that her departure left him more than scarred.
Jude is determined to get her talons into Robert and return to the family, but first things first; Jude poses as a new mother in town and visits Callie’s office to size up her competition before sneaking back into her old house and confronting Robert, asking him for access to the kids. She returns later with a boat load of groceries and the first cracks of insanity begin to show when she spies Robert, Callie and the boys having a BBQ in the garden and drives off in a strop, throwing the bags out the back of her convertible and spray-painting ‘whore’ on to Callie’s car.
Kes is the only one of Jude’s boys old enough to remember having her as a mum and to be bitter about how she left them. When she starts snooping about, trying to gain purchase on her old life, he, like father Robert and girlfriend Callie, is mistrustful whilst the other boys seem more than happy to have her around. However, with the flash of a boob and a caress of his shoulder, Kes soon forgets his acrimony toward his mother and acts as her accomplice in the downfall of poor, not-so-unsuspecting Callie. Cue an array of ‘I’m evil and hot’ smiles, sensational outfits and perhaps a little perversity between Jude and Kes.
This film really does spoil us in terms of fabulousness; not only do we have the divine Jamie Lee Curtis playing a rockin’ evil bitch, but we also have the legendary Vanessa Redgrave as the eternally beautiful, weathly grandmother who foresees the evilness of Kes, imparts some information on Jude’s horrific past (no wonder she’s crazy) and does her level best to keep her daughter away from Robert and Callie. It’s a rare woman that could even for a moment make me wish Jamie Lee Curtis would just go away, but at one point in the film, I must confess I preferred her to Jude.
I’m sure many of the people who have actually seen this movie would argue it’s not cinematic genius or even particularly original – the vengeful ex/jilted lover is by no means an unexplored genre (you probably won’t be able to watch this without thinking of Fatal Attraction) – but it’s enjoyable, gripping and wholly entertaining. Plus is has Jamie Lee Curtis in, so really it’s a winner all round and I absolutely love it.
“Mother loves you.”
Check out the trailer here: