Bizarro Masterpiece Theatre: Grandma’s Boy

This pretty much sums up the entire movie.

Film: Grandma’s Boy (2006)

Director: Nicholaus Goossen

Starring: Allen Covert, Nick Swardson, Doris Roberts

Written by: Barry Wernick, Allen Covert, Nick Swardson


There was a summer in my life in which my friends and I watched this film at least once a day, and the routine never grew old.  This isn’t necessarily because Grandma’s Boy is the greatest film ever, but it’s more of a comment about target audiences.  For a group of sarcastic and surly twentysomethings man-children – some of whom were pot smokers, all of whom were videogame freaks, and every last one a lover of karate monkeys – it’s hard to name a more appropriate film.

The main plot involves perennial Adam Sandler henchman Allen Covert starring as a video game tester in his late 30s.  After getting kicked out of his apartment because his roommate spent all their money on Asian hookers, he runs out of options and ends up staying at his grandma’s place.  Crazy old lady hijinks ensue.

But really, this isn’t about plot.  The reason one watches this film is to take in the bizarre characters and ridiculous situations which splatter across the screen.  Grandma’s Boy is little more than a series of high slapstick and comedy Rorschach, but somehow it incorporates all of its chaotic elements into a likeable, if not entirely coherent, mass.  This is a film in which an African witch doctor will suddenly show up, say a few ridiculous lines, and fade into the background to allow some other absurdity to follow, and somehow the viewer can roll with it.

Covert works great as the story’s tenuous anchor, bringing a wry and grudging enthusiasm to the proceedings.  His sidekick, played by Nick Swardson, is even better, cutting loose as a wide-eyed, cougar-hunting adult infant.  But the scene-stealer in Grandma’s Boy is the villainous J.P., an arrogant yet inept video game prodigy played by Joel David Moore.  J.P. is about as great a nerd as can be imagined, and his woeful attempts at asserting authority over his game testers is undermined by the fact that he honestly believes that he is a robot, and acts accordingly, down to his jerky movements and electronic voice.  Moore is an absolute treasure in this role, though you’d think that such a role would carry the danger of getting typecast as an uber-nerd.  Then again, Moore ended up starring in Avatar, so if he is to forever be a film geek, at least he’s been well compensated.

Grandma’s Boy may not be for grandmas themselves, but for the modern nerd it is fine tomfoolery.  Someday, when my generation ships out to the retirement homes and spends its last moments popping pills and playing videogames, I’m sure this film will be even more fitting.

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