SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2021 REVIEW! Mother Schmuckers falls squarely in the WTF category and will find a home at midnight screenings across the world. It’s one of those films that never should have been made, except that it was. And the only people insane enough to make it live in Brussels, and they are the film’s writers/ directors/ stars Harpo and Lenny Guit.
The Guit brothers star as Issachar and Zabulon, who live with their mother, Cashmiere (Claire Bodson). You’d never know it, but the film pays homage to the depression era comedies of old (whether intentional or not). The three live in a highly depressed economy. The boys are so poor, the film opens with them frying sh*t on a stove and passing it off as steak to their mother.
The two act like a grossed-out version of The Three Stooges, except instead of a slap in the face, they roll around anywhere and everywhere like little children. The story moves at a high-speed pace with breaks where the two, again, roll around like children. The dialogue is akin to The Young Ones or South Park, and lastly, the plot shifts constantly like Monty Python. I won’t even get into the Weekend at Bernie’s segment.
Is there a story? I suppose. As mother heads off the work, she tells the boys to look after her dog, January Jack. Being that they are still hungry, rather than look for a job to buy food, they take January Jack out for a walk in hopes of finding some kind of handout or a lucky break. All this to say, the story is propelled by a series of shenanigans and a bunch of looney characters of varying body types and hairstyles.
“…the film opens with them frying sh*t on a stove and passing it off as steak…”
Mother Schmuckers exists only to provide over-the-top, insane, gag-worthy moments. The boys steal a handgun to hunt for lunch in a local park, and there’s a pet fetish party they crash. Did I mention the Weekend at Bernie’s moment?
But is it any good? I laughed several times, which is pretty much the desired result for most comedies. The film goes for OMG laughs and is void of anything innovative. This is not a criticism. I’m setting expectations. Not all the jokes land, but there are about a dozen moments I winced, one of which involved the swift removal of someone’s weiner.
My only real issue is the two leads. They’re crazy and hold nothing back. They are revolting and lovable, but there’s not much contrast between the two or real depth to their characters other than being lazy reprobates. For example, The Three Stooges are the fathers of slapstick, but at the same time, Moe, Larry, and Curley are separate characters with distinguishable personalities. That easy distinction is just not there with Issachar and Zabulon. I can’t even tell you which brother was which nor describe one from the other.
Let’s face it. You are going to like Mother Schmuckers, or you’re not. For the sake of decency, my description of the comedy is relatively tame compared to what’s on the screen. That’s fine, but there’s a talent to making these characters and their stories appeal to a slightly broader audience that just doesn’t exist. So, enjoy, or don’t.
Mother Schmuckers screened at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.
"…not all the jokes land, but there are about a dozen moments I winced..."