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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 30.43%
Average: 4.35%
Pretty Bad: 4.35%
Total Crap: 17.39%

1 review, 17 user ratings

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Spanking the Monkey
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by Rob Gonsalves

"He may be a dick, but Russell's debut is a keeper."
5 stars

A comedy about incest? And a relatively inoffensive one at that? You got it.

Making his feature debut, David O. Russell crafts a bitingly funny tale of frustrated sexuality. Weíve all read that males reach their sexual peak in their early twenties, while women hit theirs in their forties. Russell doesnít feed us this data, but itís in the back of our minds as Ray (Jeremy Davies), a pre-med student returning home to tend to his invalid but still rather attractive mom (Alberta Watson), canít get no satisfaction even alone in the bathroom, where his attempts to practice the titular act are foiled by the family dog.

Momís husband (Benjamin Hendrickson), a travelling salesman, is a philandering jerk. One night, after many uncomfortable moments in which Ray has obediantly scratched the itch under his motherís leg cast or scrubbed her back in the shower, Mom and son get drunk and ....

The movie quite amazingly stays on course after this Oedipal horror, exploring the sore emotional aftermath with surprising honesty and economy. If you laugh, itís because youíre seeing this enormously difficult subject handled far more intelligently than you couldíve dreamed.

Watson is remarkable as the demanding (but never grotesque) mom, giving us direct access to her loneliness and self-disgust; Davies, as the bewildered Gen-X Oedipus, is pitch-perfect.

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originally posted: 04/04/07 04:42:01
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User Comments

3/02/14 Jamie Uncomfortable yet compelling. 4 stars
4/16/12 The Big D I remember being shocked by it back in the 90s; now it just seems fakey and stupid. 1 stars
1/30/12 jane Funny? Are you kidding??? I thought it was sad and dark. 4 stars
7/31/08 Ramone Shockingly assured first film 5 stars
10/14/07 mr.mike the acting and material were handled very well 4 stars
5/26/07 tony Russell creates a disturbing Oedipal crisis (sagaciously, never salaciously) 5 stars
8/24/06 AnnieG I never laughed, no even once. OK for a weird drama, but it's not a "comedy". 2 stars
5/25/05 Jake A dark, thoughtful, and fitting debut for filmmaker David O. Russell 4 stars
11/29/03 Andrew it's always good when a kid does his mom and jumps off a cliff.. 5 stars
6/29/03 David A. It's a stinking piece of turd with corn in it! You feel like a pervert after watching it!! 1 stars
3/07/03 Charles Tatum People, it is a black comedy! 5 stars
9/02/02 y2mckay sex with mom not as hot as in Taboo 2, but the movie is about more than just that 4 stars
4/29/02 David A. To "The Bomb 69"--In the words of the great BUGS BUNNY, You got troubles, Doc! 1 stars
3/11/02 The Bomb 69 when his mom pulled up her robe I exploded in my pants!!! 4 stars
2/23/02 David A. I'm open-minded, but I don't swing this way--thinking of it still makes me want to upchuck! 1 stars
6/22/01 brentley Gross!!! He had sex with his mom!! 3 stars
6/13/01 Phil M. Afficianado Excellent directorial debut in a black comedy kind of coming of age (fast) classic. 4 stars
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  02-Aug-1994 (R)



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