Friday, September 27, 2013

Movie #215: Grandma's Boy

Grandma's Boy is a Happy Madison movie, but don't hold that against it. It starts Allen Covert, Linda Cardellini, Doris Roberts, Joel Allan Moore, Shirley Knight, and Shirley Jones.

Alex (Covert) is a thirty-five year old video game tester. He loves his job; it pretty much lets him get high and play video games. Then he gets kicked out of his house because his idiot roommate spends their rent on Filipino prostitutes, and after an embarrassing incident while staying with his infantile friend Jeff (Nick Swardson), he goes to stay with his grandmother, Lily (Roberts) and her two friends, Bea (Knight) and Grace (Jones).

Alex loves his grandma (and it's hard not to; she's awesome), but the ladies screw with his routine and make it hard for him to get his work done. And that's a problem - the company Alex works for just hired a new manager, Samantha, (Cardellini) to oversee their new title, Eternal Death-Slayer 3, and get it on track. The teen genius who designed it, J.P, (Moore) is the most awkward thing on two legs, dressing out of the Matrix and referring to Samantha as "milady" and generally acting like...well, tell you what. Go over to Gamespot and read some of the comments on Carolyn Petit's review of Grand Theft Auto 5. That's about the level of maturity we're at, here (though nowhere near that level of vitriol, which is good, 'cause I'd have turned off the movie).

Meanwhile, Alex is developing his own video game, Demonik, which looks amazing and was supposed to be released but the company doing it fell through or something. Anyway, J.P. tries to steal it and take the credit, but Grandma Lily steps up and whoops his ass at the game (told you she was awesome), and all is well!

The movie is juvenile, but, in my humble opinion, it's funny as hell. Covert has a real rapport with Swardson and his other coworkers (including Jonah Hill), but especially with Roberts. The party scene (the old ladies drink Alex' weed as tea, get high as fuck, and the whole thing turns into a huge party) is awesome, yes, in part because of Cardellini's awesome performance of "Push It," but mostly because everyone's having such a great time and Roberts is right there in the middle of it, making sandwiches (you know, if you've been paying attention, that I identify with this behavior). And then in the morning, we get my favorite scene: Alex and Lily reminiscing about Alex's grandfather, and about how he'd have gotten blitzed with them all and been the life of the party. Alex and Lily make sense, their characters are established, and we can root for them because, as much as Alex is kind of an ass at times, he's well-meaning and he doesn't take advantage of his grandmother, even when she makes him do chores.

The rest of the cast is similarly sympathetic, and it's actually a little jarring when J.P. steals Alex's game, because the scene before that he comes to Alex in tears, just wanting to fit in. I think a scene in between that, where we see J.P. wrestle with taking that action, would have been nice, as would some attention to why Alex can't prove that the game he's been working on for three years is really his (seriously, sketches? backup files? no? nothing?).

In my opinion, it's well worth watching, it's a lot of fun, and I'm so glad it didn't star or even feature Adam Sandler (David Spade and Rob Schneider show up for brief cameos, and that's quite enough).

My Grade: A-
Rewatch value: High

Next up: Grease