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Saturday, May 9, 2015

'Helicopter Mom' Theatrical/VOD: Nia Vardalos' My Tall Thin Gay Son

Product Details
The Entertainment One film, which is in theaters and is available via VOD services, "Helicopter Mom" is a perfect viewing choice for Mother's Day. Maggie, whom "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and "My Big Fat Greek Life" veteran Nia Vardalos perfectly plays, is relatable to all of us as a mother who is far too intrusive in our lives. Focusing that overbearing nature regarding speculation that son Lloyd, nicely played by Jason Dolley of "Good Luck, Charlie" and many other Disney Channel offerings, is gay supports the theory that every gay man has "a mother."

In other words, "Mom" is funny because it is true. The cleverly animated opening credits and catchy theme by "Mom" co-star Lisa Loeb are great bonuses.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of the SPOILER-LADEN "Mom" trailer provides the blessing and the curse of introducing most of the best moments and major plot points of the film.

"Mom" opens with a HIGHLY relatable scene in which the free-spirited Maggie drags a very resistant Lloyd into the middle of the freak show that is Venice Beach to celebrate his 17th birthday. An off-hand remark by Lloyd that Maggie would be happy if he was gay excites her to the point that her related new missions in life are to determine where her baby is on the Kinsey scale of sexuality and to push him out of the closet regardless of whether he wants to do so or even is in it.

The ensuing antics by Maggie mortify high school senior Lloyd, who is naturally shy and happily largely invisible at school. These include papering the school with embarrassing flyers, getting him elected to prom court, and secretly applying for a college scholarship for gay students on his behalf.

Maggie further prying into the most intimate aspect of the life of Lloyd and making an absurd assumption regarding the nature of his relationship with his best friend are additional highlights.

Although hilarity often does not ensue, "Mom" is entertaining and is notable for the aforementioned relatable elements. This includes most of the outrageous behavior by Maggie falling within the realm of possibility regarding parents of even the most clearly heterosexual teens.

Unfortunately, the completely inoffensive Dolley is neither unduly endearing nor remotely adorkable. It is equally unfortunate that the producers could not recruit a more expressive actor, such as David Henrie or Ross Lynch, from the Mouse Factory.

Hilarity does occur when Maggie ambushes a still not self-declared gay Lloyd with a date with a flamboyantly out gay teen. The combination of that lad loudly camping it up and touching Lloyd and Lloyd wanting the ground to swallow him up is very entertaining.

Another memorable scene has Lloyd's deadbeat aging rocker father Max, played by Mark Boone Junior, taking him to a bar both as a rite of passage and a response to nagging by Maggie regarding determining the extent to which their son likes boys. The frank statements by Lloyd and the "you're ok" response by an assertively straight Max is nicely affirming without being sappy.

On a larger level, "Mom" is an overall positive tale about teen boys who minimally find themselves attracted to other boys in 2015. The insult "faggot" is diluted in that is seems to refer to nerds and/or wimps, rather than to gay people, Further, the ubiquitous use of it even in that context dilutes the impact of hurling it. One can easily imagine teens using the term merely to express annoyance in the form of statements such as "Faggot, you were supposed to meet me at the movies 15 minutes ago."

Further, no verbal or literal bashing occurs even after a highly embarrassed Lloyd is the victim of a hilarious hissy fit by a jealous boyfriend right in front of the high school.

All of this creates good hope that the next generation will live in a world in which sexual orientation receives very little thought. This merely requires recognizing the lesson from the climatic scene of "Mom" that sexuality is the continuum that many of us consider it and that what a horny teen does in the bedroom, in the backseat of a car, or under the bleachers does not define him.

Any mother out there who is looking for someone for whom they can bake cookies or anyone who merely has questions or comments regarding "Mon" is encouraged to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy,