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STUDIO: Warner Bros.
RUNNING TIME: 90/89 Minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: Featurette (Mom at Sixteen Only)
"Uhhh…sex is bad, mmkay?"
Mom – Mercedes Ruehl, Jane Krakowski, Danielle Panabaker; Dad – Kathy Baker, Bruce Davison, Paul Franklin Dano
"…with cinematography by Dave Davis…"
Two stories about teenage parents and how it affects their lives and the lives of those around them.
Artwork is your standard "Double-Feature" fare, with the would-be theatrical posters side-by-side with the powdery blueness that is the Lifetime Logo above. Mom’s artwork is a mish-mash of promo pics while Dad’s is a frame from the movie. Usually I like original artwork but I think Dad’s sells the story better than Mom’s (although with these sorts of titles you really don’t have to worry about selling the story). Standard fullscreen presentation with a decent transfer and Dolby Digital Stereo. Basically it’s a very literal case of tv on DVD. Features boast a "Look at the Film" with the Cast & Crew of Mom. It’s standard fare, talking about how serious the issues are and what not. All true, but not very insightful.
There was no denying it – Nibbles had watched the tape. 7 Days later the kids welcomed Bitey into the class.
I’m gonna start with Mom as it’s the first DVD in line and I’ll say that it’s crap. No sarcasm, no wit, no funny little retort. This is crap. And on the surface is a propaganda film. A lot of "gasp" shots of the type of things girls wear to school and how rampant sexual activity is on campus. This film is so transparent I had a very hard time sitting through it. Anyway, Jaycee lives at home with her mom and her sister and infant brother. Mom appears to be a drunken pill-popper, Sis desperately needs some attention and Jaycee is super-moody. And I have to ask, the movie is called Mom at Sixteen, so why did they even bother trying to hide the fact that Jaycee’s baby brother is actually her son? And not only that, but there’s this big dramatic reveal. Pointless. Jaycee had a baby and to cover it up Mom moved them to another school and claims the baby as hers. At its core, I can see what they were trying to do with this film. The story is so simple and very effective, why they had to try and flesh it out with all these side-stories and dramatic scenes is beyond me. They tried to cram so much in here it’s hard to get attached to anything. And that’s another problem, three-fourths of this movie looks as if it was written, produced, directed, shot and edited by High School kids. There’s no coherency, characters are given ridiculous sub-plots that don’t go anywhere and the dialogue is elementary at best. And then out of nowhere, it goes off an a different direction. It’s as if Lifetime let kids make a movie without supervision and at the last minute said "Holy Shit! How are we gonna save this?!" And how did they save it? With the most blatant, thoughtless, transparent attempts to make you cry that they could imagine. You’re probably gonna cry pretty much through the last 15 minutes of this movie (I’m not ashamed to admit that movies make me cry – and no Sackley, I’m still not gay), but not because you care about the characters and not because you followed this dramatic story all the way – because they played you. They forced it and it’s obvious. You can’t help but cry because they pulled those strings pretty hard, but you can tell it’s irritatingly intentional. Typically you feel refreshed after a good End-of-the-Movie cry, but not this time. It’s actually kind of aggravating. And I’m tired of talking about it, so moving on…
…and with a single glance, she could blur you out of existence.
Too Young to be a Dad is the second film in this set and is such a better film than Mom, and not only because it’s a teen pregnancy film that finally focuses on the boy. This film is so good actually (and has sort of a similar ending) that Mom isn’t required and is actually worse of a movie after comparison. We’re introduced to Matthew, a bright young student who’s obviously got a big future ahead of him. He starts tutoring a young girl named Francesca and, a few tutoring sessions paired with a little mutual attraction leads to a pseudo-love scene that’s a little uncomfortable to watch. If these actors aren’t minors they definitely look the part. Francesca becomes pregnant and we follow the story from start to finish. This movie is spot-on from the progression of the story to the reactions of each and every one of the characters. It’s completely believable and without a hint of the forced drama so rampant in Mom. Now that’s not to say it’s without its flaws. They way in which Francesca goes about suggesting the sex is a little ham-handed and for a brief moment portrays her as a tad bit slutty, however the way she deals with the pregnancy quickly reclaims your sympathy. The rest of the problems involve her as well. After the big reveal to her father (which was refreshingly original and well-done) she’s pretty much forgotten. Sure we see her several times throughout the story, but she’s just there because, as the title suggests, this is Matt’s story. What’s really aggravating about that is in the end when Katie Stewart isn’t even credited as Francesca. That’s a little shitty if you ask me, even if it was just an oversight. The thing that bothers me the most about this is why does it have to be a Dad or a Mom movie? Why can’t it be Too Young to be Parents? They do such an excellent job of following Matt through this situation, if they could have added about 20 or 30 minutes to the movie they could have equally represented Francesca and this could be a full story that looks at both sides. Stewart’s performance was real, as well as her parents, and deserved a little more screen time.
In the end though, this is still an excellent movie. Now, I don’t know what Lifetime’s intentions were but these aren’t movies for kids to watch. These are for parents. If your child ends up in a situation like this watch each set of parents for a How-To (and How-Not-To) Guide on how to handle this. In my opinion – Matt’s parents win and I feel that they best represent how I’d handle something like this with my daughter.
Matt waited till just the right moment, punched the projector and the test answers appeared.
"Can The Fonz do this" he thought, confidently.
It’s a good thing these movies are on separate discs. If you feel so inclined, you can throw Mom away and still have Dad. And I know my Mom reads these reviews so I’m just gonna pretend that sentence didn’t come out like that.
6 out of 10
(Just for Dad, I totally dismiss Mom as being part of this set)