My Mom's New Boyfriend (2008) / Comedy-Thriller
aka Homeland Security
ala Mi Novio es un Ladron (My Boyfriend's a Thief)
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sexual references, some violence, and language
Running time: 98 min
Cast: Meg Ryan, Antonio Banderas, Colin Hanks, Selma Blair, Keith David, Eli Danker, Enrico Colantoni, Gary Grubbs, Dan Braverman, Trevor Morgan
Director: George Gallo
Screenplay: George Gallo
Colin Hanks (Untraceable, King Kong) plays FBI agent Henry Durand, who is coming home to see his mother (Ryan, Kate & Leopold) after spending the last three years in an undercover operation that left him out of touch with the life he left behind. In that time, his widowed mother has undergone a complete makeover, turning Martha -- an overweight, smoking and depressed woman -- into Marty -- the hottest MILF sexpot in Shreveport, Louisiana. Henry's fiancée (Blair, The Big Empty) tags along and takes a sudden liking to Marty, as does nearly everyone else, especially all of the men around who ogle her, much to Henry's disgust. Meanwhile, Marty catches the eye of Tommy (Banderas, Shrek the Third), an international hi-tech art thief who is ostensibly in town to bag a priceless statue in an exhibition at a Shreveport museum. The FBI catches wind of it and asks Henry to use his surveillance skills to lead a team of agents to monitor the house, which means he's undercover while his mother's under the covers, and has to listen in on his mother's intimate details in her burgeoning relationship with a known criminal.
Writer-director George Gallo (Trapped in Paradise, Double Take) is in way over his head trying to get two different movies to mesh into a complete and satisfying film, styled, he claims, after Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief. One story is the oft-used plot of a spoiled child who can't stand to see his dear old mom with another guy to replace his departed father (also see Mama's Boy), which leads to Oedipal feelings that might be interesting if explored with more psychological depth than shown here. The other story is of Tommy and his quest to get the statue, while Henry is trying to take him down. It is Gallo's supposition that the combination of these different styles will lead to hilarious conflicts, but without originality, wit, or sense of direction, it's just another straight-to-video release to be consumed and easily forgotten.
It's sad to see appealing actors like once-too-cute-now-too-plastic Ryan (who replaces the original casting of Annette Bening) and Banderas stuck in roles that have only one note, which gets played repeatedly throughout. Hanks, who isn't a bad actor himself, should probably stay away from straight comedic roles where he must carry the load, as he isn't suited for it. It should be noted that he follows in his father's footsteps in playing opposite of Meg Ryan. Selma Blair, yet again, isn't given much to do in another throwaway role.
Gallo doesn't offer anything other than plot complications and exploitation in constant displays of Meg Ryan's sexier side, but both get progressively less interesting as the film runs along and we discover it's on a quick road to nowhere. Contrivances abound, such as Henry being asked not to tell anyone he is monitoring Tommy, including his bride-to-be, who is also a fellow FBI agent. The FBI have to be full of idiots not to think that a man who spends as much time as he does in the Durand household wouldn't be told by mom or girlfriend about their occupations. Gallo attempts a last-minute revelation late in the film in order to cap things off with a happy ending, which could have been interesting if we actually cared these characters and their interests.
Only Meg Ryan or Antonio Banderas completists need apply for My Mom's New Boyfriend, as it offers little beyond name recognition and recycled plot elements for it's 90+ minute span.
©2008 Vince Leo