Mail Order Monster

Sometimes the best way to fix a problem is to send away for a robot and let it do all of the heavy lifting for you. That’s what young Samantha (Madison Horcher) does when she’s bullied at school. She’s a diminutive whiz kid with humility, but her classmate, PJ (Emma Rayne Lyle) has it in for her. The two used to be pals, but PJ has turned cool, and now she’s leading a small troupe of Samantha haters.

A young aspiring comic artist as well as a science enthusiast, Samantha, seems popular only with the nerdy guys who congregate at what must be their designated lunch table in the school cafeteria.

“…the Mail Order Monster, or MOM…is an unlikely addition to her small household.”

Samantha, “Sam” as her widowed dad (Josh Hopkins) calls her, has been leading a lonely life since her mother was killed. The car she and Sam were riding crashes on a rain-slickened road. Three years after the accident, Sam is still healing from the ordeal, but there are new problems on the horizon. Her dad gets serious with Sydney (Charisma Carpenter), and Sam is worried that Sydney will try to take the place of her mom. Both dad and Sydney are perfectly lovely people, but it’s all too much for Sam to take in.

Sam’s new friend, the Mail Order Monster, or MOM, as she likes to call it, is an unlikely addition to her small household. Once she’s gotten the thing assembled and running, it has to be kept under wraps in the shed behind the house.

At first, things go quite well. The tall, yellow-faced monster-robot, with its steam-shovel jaw and shock of multi-colored antennae going every which way is a good companion for Sam. But the strain of keeping MOM hidden from the public does start to become an issue.

“…kids will enjoy a lot, and parents can watch with pleasure…”

It’s pretty clear that MOM, the robot, is a stand-in for Sam’s dearly departed mother, and the way that she looks after the mechanical beast is quite endearing. That she must keep MOM hidden from disapproving eyes may remind you a little of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, but in a good way.

That said, the energy lapses a bit once Sam solves her school bullying problem and the story shifts gears into a Sam vs. the grownups mode. We never doubt that things will eventually straighten themselves out, but near the end, the situation between Sam and MOM takes a drastic unforeseen turn.

There’s not much real violence on the screen, certainly no blood is spilled, but there are some rough moments, and parents of small children might want to use caution. But overall, it’s a story that kids will probably enjoy a lot, and parents can watch with pleasure alongside their young ones. Not a bad way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Mail Order Monster (2018) Directed by Paulina Lagudi. Written by Paulina Lagudi, Marc Prey. Starring  Charisma Carpenter, Josh Hopkins, Emma Rayne Lyle, Bill Billions, Lea Hutton Beasmore, Madison Horcher, Jeremy Aubrey.

8 out of 10 Frankensteins

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