Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Invisible Mom II

What I Knew Ahead of Time / What I Was Expecting

Invisible Mom II.  Sounds pretty stupid.

There's a Hollywood truism about putting the word "mom" in your movie title.  Supposedly you're not supposed to do it because "mom" sounds boring and totally uncool, man.  I think it's for the same reason you don't put "dad" in your title... it just sounds like a bad family movie.

"Invisible" actually makes it sound worse, surprisingly. On a metaphorical level, it implies a Lifetime original movie about a mother who is taken for granted so badly she is "invisible" to the world.  But since there's a Part II, it seems much more likely to be literal... which implies a "wacky" comedy.

Wacky shitty family comedy?  Oh, no.  That can't be good.

I'm guessing Invisible Mom got her invisible powers in the first one and stopped some crimes or something, and the sequel is about another mom who unexpectedly turned invisible.  Possibly she's going to be Invisible Mom's nemesis.  Regardless, I'm sure we're all going to learn a lesson in the end.

What It's Actually About

A wealthy tycoon is about to die, and it seems like his wicked children Bernard (played by Micky Dolenz of all people) and Olivia are going to inherit everything.  He has one last surprise for them before he goes, though - he's actually leaving everything to his grandson, Eddie.  There's just one catch: nobody knows where Eddie is.

It turns out that's on purpose.  Eddie's mom, fearing that her creepy siblings would try to kill Eddie the same way they killed his father / her husband, dropped Eddie off at an orphanage and christened him with a fake name so he could lay low.  (I'm skipping ahead a bit here, but this appears to have been her entire plan to spare Eddie. No timeline was given on when she might return to the orphanage or even when she might have clued Eddie in to the underlying motive for abandoning him.  When she - spoiler - comes back in the end, Eddie doesn't even seem all that upset with her. Eddie's got a tenuous grasp of consequence, is what I'm saying.)

So now we follow Eddie around on some misadventures for about fifteen minutes.  He's a smart kid and kind of a prankster.  Ostensibly he's got a heart of gold, but that only seems to come up when there's a self-serving angle at play for him.

Eddie repudiates any attempts at adoption since he believes his mom will come back for him any day now. However, the state law says he can't stay at the orphanage any longer, so he's placed in the care of a foster family comprised of Karl, a wacky inventor, Josh, his average white kid, and Laura, the titular invisible mom.

This is where you realize the movie's title is a bit of bullshit.  It's true that Laura is sometimes invisible, but it's more of an uncontrollable habit than it is a superpower.  Her invisibility turns on and off by chance, usually spurred by a strong emotional outburst.  She has it in check most of the time, though, so she's just a regular visible mom for maybe 90% of her screen time.

She's also not even all that important to the movie until the very end.  Most of the movie is about Eddie and Josh becoming fast friends and getting into some misadventures.

Eventually Bernard and Olivia find Eddie thanks to the efforts of the family attorney, and they take custody of him with nefarious intent in mind.  Josh suspects something's up, so he stows away in their car in order to keep hanging out with Eddie.  The four of them wind up at Bernard and Olivia's (technically Eddie's) creepy mansion.

Bernard and Olivia come up with a bullshit scheme to scare Eddie to death so that he'll be out of the picture without leaving behind any evidence of wrongdoing on their part. They start out by telling Eddie that the mansion is haunted, then proceed to haunt him with cheap Halloween-lite decorations and effects.

Remarkably, their scheme works pretty well for awhile and Eddie is unnerved.  Josh keeps him calm and they make a call to Laura - remember her? - to ask her to come help.  Laura freaks out, turns invisible, and goes to the mansion to save the kids.  She turns the tables on Bernard and Olivia by moving shit around while invisible, which makes them think the mansion really is haunted and drives them to madness.

The family attorney, who dislikes Bernard and Olivia and wants to see them fail, shows up with some police officers who arrest them for the murder of Eddie's father.  Invisible Mom turns visible again and everyone celebrates that she saved the day.  Then Eddie's biological mom shows up, because the perfect time to come help out your kid is when everyone else has done the heavy lifting.  She's not a good mom.

What I Liked

Micky Dolenz and Mary Woronov are a lot of fun as the villains.  They're the only ones in the movie who seem to understand what tone the movie's trying to hit and they have a great time hamming it up.

What I Didn't Like

The invisible mom.

Look, this is a stupid, crappy movie, and it knows it.  I can complain that the jokes are lame and that the plot makes no sense, but that's just going to turn me into the butt of the joke - what really can you expect?

The thing is, if you're going to call your movie "Invisible Mom II," you need to deliver on an invisible goddamn mom.  She needs to be the main character.  At the very least, she needs to consistently be invisible.  Instead, she's barely in the thing, and when she is, she's frustratingly visible.

I hate to say it, but Dee Wallace also gives probably the worst performance of the movie as the titular mom.  She's easily the most experienced member of the cast, and yet every single line that comes out of her mouth has the overacted cadence of a school play.  It's embarrassing.

Not that anybody saw it.  I'm sure your shame will remain a secret, Ms. Wallace.  And I don't blame you.  I wouldn't put that much effort into Invisible Mom II, either.

Would I Recommend It?


What I Think the Prequel Was About

I think it was probably a detailed and harrowing look at the life of a little Bosnian girl rendered an orphan by the slaughter of her family in 1995 and her barely-hopeful quest for clean water as she journeys by herself across country lines seeking asylum.

Either that or it's some bullshit about a Mom turning Invisible.

My Pitch for Another One

Tiny Mom, in which Invisible Mom accidentally drinks a shrink potion and becomes tiny. Antics ensue.

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