DIFF Review: About Mom and Dad…


Director:Rachel Shepherd

Cast:Brent Anderson, Farah White, Alisha Revel, Katy Rowe, Ryan Ripple, Jonny Mars

Running Time:95 Minutes


About Mom and Dad feels a lot more like a sitcom pilot than a feature film. Dysfunctional family? Check. Precocious kid? Check. New romance? Check. A laugh-track would not have felt out of place.

It's only a few days before Kim (Alisha Revel) is set to marry Jake (Jonny Mars) at her family's lakeside estate. But her mom (Farah White) has kicked her dad (Brent Anderson) out of the house after she finds evidence of him cheating.

Hold on, the clichés are just getting started.

It turns out Jake is having an affair with Kim's sister Sarah (Katy Rowe), and their stolen kisses and brief glances might force the truth out, even if they want to keep it quiet.

As with most films, but especially family dramedies, there's got to be something relatable or at least believable from the cast or the story. About Mom and Dad really doesn't have either. There are very few natural scenes, so the ones that do feel real"”particularly a third-act speech from the dad to Sarah, both cheaters"”makes you wonder the rest of the movie can't be this consistent.

It also hurts the film overall that the least-connected plot is the most interesting. David (Ryan Ripple), brother to Kim and Sarah, starts a new romance with his co-worker and single mom Raye (Heather Kafka, who looks a lot like Diane Kruger), thanks to the provocation of her kids.

Yes, this subplot features more eye-rolling than anything else going on. But Ripple and Kafka have such an easy-going chemistry that their scenes never feel forced, unlike most of the other romantic moments in the film.

Even so, About Mom and Dad still provides a healthy supply of laughs. Plus, this a movie shot in Texas by a female director. We need more of both, even the ones that aren't stellar and could use some polish. 


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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