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Mom and Dad Review

Sometimes Mom and Dad Need a Timeout

Much like any script meeting for this film, this review will be short.

"We want to trust you, we really do, but you don't make it easy," is the quote that bookends this film, but has more meaning when applied to the film's director, Brian Taylor. This is Taylor's first film without his usual writing partner, Mark Neveldine, and is as much a case study for why you should use the buddy system as anything your camp swim counselor ever told you.

The Neveldine/Taylor partnership is responsible for off-the-wall, cult classics such as the "Crank" series and "Jonah Hex." Despite over the top storylines and absurdist realities, they were able to deliver highly entertaining final products. For "Mom and Dad" Taylor went for the shock value, but forgot to have any semblance of a story.    

The premise here is that one day, while children are at school, parents around the globe develop murderous intentions towards all of their offspring. "Mom and Dad" follows one particular family, the Ryans - Brent (Nicolas Cage), Kendall (Selma Blair), Carly (Anne Winters), and Josh (Zackary Arthur) - as they progress through the day. No reason is ever given for the murderous rage and there don't seem to be any consistent rules as for when people are affected, how strong their impulses are, or geographical distance from children in relation to impulse strength.

The only reason that this film does not completely crater are the performances. Instead of taking the opportunity to go completely off the handle, Nicolas Cage turns on the crazy at the right moments and truly portrays a man sitting at the far edge of middle age and looking back, wondering where the time as gone. Selma Blair similarly plays a character who wonders if she has made all of the right decisions in regard to her own life, all the while presenting a subtler, but no less effective version of crazy.

That aside, there is no need to watch this film. Taylor seems to be going for some sort of social commentary during the opening scenes, but they are too heavy-handed and turn out to be just the thinnest veil of cover for the killings that follow. The shock-and-awe wears off quickly and eventually you are left just watching the brutal murder of children without any story or commentary.

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