Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Serial Mom

Serial Mom; Dark comedy, USA, 1994; D: John Waters, S: Kathleen Turner, Sam Waterston, Ricki Lake, Matthew Lillard, Scott Morgan, Walt MacPherson, Justin Whalin, Suzanne Somers, Traci Lords

Beverly is a kitschy mother that does everything in an ideal matter. Her husband is Eugene, while her kids are Misty and Chip. But one day she starts killing everyone who doesn't suit her: a teacher because he complained that her son watches too much horror movies, neighbors because they eat chicken, an old woman because she doesn't rewind her tape...When she gets caught, she convinces the jury members with her sympathy and gets released of all charges.

Many complained about the schizophrenia comedy "Me, Myself and Irene", but it's forerunner "Serial Mom" is also quite annoying. As with all of his films, director John Waters showed his bizarre sense for black humor, but also for his exploitation of low tastes: "Serial Mom" is an interesting and sharp satire about the deceiving appearance and fake relationships in suburbia, but it's also unfinished. One truly needs to have a perverse side to find the murders by Kathleen Turner's character funny - having an open mind for Transgressive art is welcomed, but conceit about something that isn't there is like laughing at "Police Academy 7". The Farrellys also have a lot of low taste humor, but with style, while Waters lack that here. The aggressive behaviour of the mother, who succeeds in everything except convincing the audience that she is sympathetic, displays the theme of the story about how id overcomes the super-ego. Kathleen Turner is very good in her one dimensional role that goes crazy from who knows what (maybe from too much conformism?) and kills victims that don't deserve it. Still, one has to admit that Waters has courage when he bravely gave Traci Lords a small role in the film.


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