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By Don R. Lewis | June 12, 2009

Picture yourself spending the day with your aging mother. For those of us who still have a living one, this idea can fill us with pure dread. There’s the usual arguments, uncomfortableness and little games we play that slowly drive us nuts but still, it’s our mom and we love her. But can you imagine having feelings of resentment, embarrassment and borderline anger towards your mom only to find yourself in a thorny situation that’s only getting more and more troubling by the minute? Clay Liford’s fairly perfect short film “My Mom Smokes Weed” puts us all in the trenches with a son (Rubin) and a mom (Luedtke) who (you guessed it) constantly tokes up in the hilarious short film “My Mom Smokes Weed.”

Son comes to visit Mom and discovers she’s a wreck after a family trauma that’s evidentially driven a wedge between the two of them. Immediately we get that they both have some issues that need to be worked out. Add to that the usual older person annoyances like driving them around or trying to explain to them how a “GPS” navigation system works and we have a recipe for painful comedy that only gets more funny and awkward as is “rolls” along.

I’m no fan of pot humor but Liford doesn’t take the easy way out by dumbing his film down and making it a gimmicky point-and-laugh at a stoned out old lady. Each phrase muttered by the tandem adds a depth to the tension and sadness of their situation. Each minute that goes by in the film, you can truly feel the awkwardness felt by the son as he and his mom go on a weed run “downtown.”

“My Mom Smokes Weed” reminded me a lot of some of my favorite sitcoms like “Seinfeld” or “The Office” in terms of a tight plot line than constantly ups the ante in terms of uncomfortable situations that build and build before some kind of uneasy settlement calms the fire. In the case of this film, that’s directly attributed to Liford’s great script and cast members Sylvia Luedtke, Nate Rubin and Scott Edward Logan as a small-time pot dealer who does his best to help mother and son reach some kind of reconciliation. Sort of.

I see a bunch of short films throughout the year and bar none, comedy shorts are the hardest to pull off. When they’re done right as this one is, they’re a home run. When they try to get too much in over a short period of time, they become tough to take. “My Mom Smokes Weed” adds just enough ingredients to it’s short 17 minute span to make you shift in your seat while laughing at a situation that’s spiraling out of control. Yet there’s subtle touches in the writing and acting that make “My Mom Smokes Weed” one of the best shorts of the year.

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