New from A Reel of One’s Own by Andrea Thompson: Sundance 2021 Review: Mother Schmuckers

By Andrea Thompson

What makes the Sundance comedy “Mother Schmuckers” curdle so spectacularly is that it’s a truly fun romp until it devolves to the point where the comedy comes at the brutal expense of nearly everyone around its two lead characters, Issachar (Maxi Delmelle) and Zabulon (Harpo Guit), who make Beavis and Butt-Head look like deep thinkers. Just when you wonder if morons in the U.S. could be just as harmless with more gun control laws, “Mother Schmuckers” takes it further…and eventually, too far.

Even if these bros are introduced when they’re frying shit in their mother’s apartment, nothing could prepare audiences for what follows, which takes perverse jaunts to places even the raunchiest Hollywood comedies would fear to tread. Some of it is exacerbated by their prostitute mother Cashmere (Claire Bodson), whose frustration with them hits a breaking point when they lose her beloved, adorable dog January Jack, prompting her ultimatum – find January Jack or the two of them get kicked out for good.

Belgian directors and co-writers Harpo Guit and Lenny Guit keep the insanity coming for their feature debut, including dark moments where the siblings have reason to doubt their mother has any genuine love for them. But even that pales in comparison to the sheer depravity “Mother Schmuckers” has in store, which eventually includes beastiality, animal abuse, and even necrophilia.

Needless to say, it’s a lot to handle, and if you have any affection towards animals whatsoever, this movie is best avoided. That it’s even remotely tolerable is thanks to the comedic skills and chemistry between Delmelle and Guit, who effortlessly sell the physical comedy that includes a chase in the grocery store and manic energy that has them constantly wrestling with each other even when they’re getting along and not almost accidentally offing each other with a gun they happen to come across. There’s just nothing that could save “Mother Schmuckers” once it decides that shock value and offensiveness should take precedence over genuine laughs. By the time the movie reaches the end of its 70-minute runtime, its welcome feels long overstayed, and the end credits a much welcome relief.

Grade: D-

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