Selma Blair and Nicolas Cage have a ball as a suburban couple gone horribly haywire
With a few notable exceptions (Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Kick-Ass, The Croods, Joe), Nicolas Cage has spent the past decade gnashing his teeth in a variety of direct-to-digital and big budget B-movies, putting in the hours but seldom delivering the goods. Mom and Dad harnesses Cage's mad energy for exactly the kind of cult fun that should have been a staple of his CV years ago. Although ideally cast, he's comprehensively upstaged by co-star Selma Blair, coolheaded and conniving to Cage's unrestrained crazy.
When a rage descends on a suburban town that causes parents to turn violently on their offspring, the Ryans find their already fraying family life ripped apart at the seams. Former wild man Brent (Cage) snoozes in front of porn he's been collecting on his work computer; glamorous stay-at-home mom Kendall (Blair) is mercilessly mocked when she attempts to re-start her career; meanwhile their daughter Carly (Anne Winters) is a stroppy, disinterested teen who steals from her mother's purse. Carly learns a lesson in responsibility when she becomes the protector of her little brother Josh (Zackary Arthur) when their parents arrive back at home one day with murder in mind.
Written and directed by Brian Taylor (Crank, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance) this frenetic satirical horror owes a debt to George A Romero with its hordes of zombie-like parents pooling at the school gates ready to unleash hell. It's just a snip of a film at 86-minutes long, with ideas largely limited to the horrible, high-concept premise. Nevertheless, the cartoonish energy and maniacal performances keep things lively, a delivery-room sequence is simply jaw-dropping, and a punch-line involving the older generation kicks in just when it's needed.
Mom and Dad obviously grossly exaggerates the headache of having kids, yet there are moments that will touch nerves: a meltdown in the basement, for instance, provokes an outpouring of sincere frustration and disappointment which underpins the whole ridiculous enterprise. Taylor doesn't claim that raising children is any harder than it should be, but shows that, in a society where everyone's pretending that their life is perfect, the reality can sometimes suck.
General release from Fri 9 Mar.