Runs at Northwest Film Forum, Fri., Sept. 12–Mon., Sept. 22. Not rated. 94 minutes.
Thirtyish guy—bit of a schlub but married, with a newborn baby—comes back from California to visit aging parents in New York and, overtaken by a mysterious lethargy, moves into his tiny childhood room. Momma's Man, directed by Azazel Jacobs from his own screenplay, is one of the sweetest, saddest stories Franz Kafka never wrote. That Mikey (Matt Boren) grew up in a pre-gentrification, tin-ceilinged, wooden-floored lower-Manhattan loft with parents who were unreconstructed Jewish bohemians gives Momma's Man more than a dollop of local color; that Mikey's parents are played by the filmmaker's own, the artists Ken and Flo Jacobs, and the loft is the place where he actually grew up provides the film with considerable emotional resonance. Momma's Man is highly specific, evoking not only the filmmaker's lost childhood but also the heroic New York art scene that had already begun to fade when the now 35-year-old Azazel was a boy. But it's even more powerfully universal. Much comic pathos arises from the realization that Mikey has no perspective on his parents; they are as mysterious in their idiosyncrasies as anyone's. His prolonged visit is not so much a regression as a blissful immersion in some pre-analytical Eden. Cluttered with charged objects, the magic loft is an image of childhood in itself.