Mom and Dad Review
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Being a parent is often a wild and crazy adventure—one that, depending on the day, can feel a bit like a horror movie. So the pitch black comic thriller Mom and Dad builds on that idea while reversing the usual roles in some violent and completely over-the-top ways.

Mom and Dad finds life in the suburbs shaken up when some unknown cause reverses parents’ instincts as caretakers, causing them to turn on their children (and only their children) in a murderous rage. As kids race through the streets in an attempt to escape their homicidal parents, self-centered teen Carly Ryan (Anne Winters) and her younger brother, Josh (Zackary Arthur), barricade themselves in the basement, hoping to survive the attacks by their parents, Kendall (Selma Blair) and Brent (Nicolas Cage), who will stop at nothing to kill them.

If you prefer Nicolas Cage at his most over-the-top (as I do), you’ll love Mom and Dad. Even at his most fatherly—when he isn’t possessed and trying to kill his children—his character is more than just slightly unhinged. And when he lets loose, he really lets loose—in the most entertaining of ways—which only helps to spur on his costars.

Fortunately, this isn’t supposed to be a serious film. It may build to something that’s brutal and bloody, but it never takes itself too seriously. Instead, it’s one big, crazy (yet surprisingly perceptive) free-for-all.

Despite the madness of the story and the over-the-top performances, Mom and Dad actually has a lot to say about growing up and raising children. The message here isn’t subtle. A teacher talks to his class about planned obsolescence—how electronics companies ensure that consumers will always want the hottest new thing instead of the broken-down old thing. Kendall finds herself longing for the body—and the self-worth—that she once had. Brent builds a pool table in his dark, unfinished basement in a desperate attempt to cling to some of the fun of his younger years. And anyone who has kids of their own will get it.

At the same time, though, there are also a whole lot of things that you probably won’t get. The plot is filled with holes—starting with some of the most basic introductory information. Characters come and go, and the details are a little sketchy. It’s entertaining, but it’s also entirely haphazard.

After a couple of months of heavy award season dramas, though, Mom and Dad is a welcome (and completely wacky) change of pace. It can be a bit of a mess, but at least it’s an amusing mess.

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