Come for the soundtrack, the cherry Trans Am, Selma Blair's deft handling of a shiny meat tenderizer and the modernized upside-down allegory about the most natural love in the world: Parents' for their children. Stay for the deranged Lance Henriksen cameo (we've come a long way from his muted portrayal of Bishop in the Alien films), the nifty visual of how Facebook has infected teenagers' souls and Nicolas Cage's brief but torrid affair with a billiards table of his own making.
The latest from writer/director Brian Taylor (Crank, Gamer), Mom and Dad is a fucked-up film premised thusly: Some unknown force has reversed the parental instinct and sent out-of-their-minds hordes of folks into schools, streets and kitchens to murder their children (at one point, a newscaster describing the horrors over the radio intones that "we are under attack," though she does not say by what). Before any of that, we meet two privileged 14-year-old girls (Anne Winters and Olivia Crocicchia) as they plan to do the sex and the drugs with their boyfriends after another day of drudgery, school, and once-cool, now-overbearing parents' constraints. It's easy to see why these girls' moms and dads might want to end them.
Cage is Cage, only pretty much on full blast from stem to stern this time around. It's too much, even for this gory romp. But Blair (Cruel Intentions, Mothers and Daughters) sells it for real, mixing actual human depth in the twin struggles of aging and parenting with the near-slapstick hunger to kill woven throughout.
The movie is paced and shot to jar, but it feels a little too stitched-together in spots—a poor man's stop-motion, look-at-me neck-whipper that falls short of, say, Requiem For a Dream. There are, however, moments of true harrow. Among them: One of the most disturbing scenes we've ever encountered, set to Roxette's 1987 classic, "It Must Have Been Love." If you can stomach ultra-violence in a movie you're supposed to laugh at, this'll do the trick. Also, don't kill your kids; that's a felony crime.
+Selma Blair's slow-moving meltdown
-Nicolas Cage in a Misfits t-shirt
Mom and Dad
Directed by Taylor
With Blair, Cage, Winters and Crocicchia
The Screen, R, 123 min.
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