Childish things

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

It's pretty safe to say writer-director Azazel Jacobs has a few unresolved issues, especially since he cast his own parents, avant-garde filmmaker Ken and artist Flo Jacobs, in film festival favorite Momma's Man as the progenitors of his surrogate, regressed man-child Mikey (a perfect Matt Boren).

In New York for a few days on business, Mikey begins to overstay his welcome in his parents' small Manhattan loft when he invents excuse after excuse to not return to his wife and newborn child in California.

The loft, resembling a vintage store overstuffed with collectables, becomes a wonderland of childhood knickknacks as Mikey rediscovers his old comic books, a superhero cape, robotic toys and his old guitar, complete with his angry, curse-filled teenage songbook.

The film comes dangerously close to turning into another trite attempt at indie-film catharsis, but Momma's Man avoids such trappings by being unconditionally genuine.

Free from all responsibilities, Mikey's deterioration feels natural, as it starts with the unearthing of an old trinket and a few motherly homemade meals. By the time he starts roaming the loft in his long underwear and making calls to his high school ex, it's clear Mikey's reached the level of pathetic that only a mother - and an audience invested in his entertaining, yet tragic, downward slide - could love.

"Momma's Man"

Screens Jan. 30-31 at the Wexner Center

Grade: A