Mars Needs Moms (review)

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Do kids really need to be reminded — in IMAX 3D! — that Mom loves you and has your best interests at heart when she tells you to eat your broccoli and gets mad when you feed it to the cat instead? I guess someone at Disney figured this was the case. For the spectacularly mediocre Mars Needs Moms posits just this scenario: If you’re a nine-year-old brat of a boy and you wish your mom away, she just might get kidnapped by aliens who really appreciate her momness, and then you’ll be sorry… and then you’ll be forced to go and rescue your mother from another planet. I anticipated lots and lots of gendered ickiness here, but I’m, er, pleased to see that there isn’t much more than usual amount (if you’re an ugly male, you’re a cool, wacky hero type; if you’re an ugly female, you’re the villain)… and the film does come to a conclusion that is pretty darn humanist — all kids need mothering, and they should be getting it in equal measures from parents of all genders, who are perfectly capable, male and female alike, of doing the job — for all that it’s the Martians who learn the lesson. There isn’t a whole lot, however, to really recommend Moms beyond the fact that it’s not particularly offensive. The motion-capture-fueled CGI that animates the humans — including the kid, Milo (the motion of Seth Green [Robot Chicken: Star Wars], the voice of Seth Dusky), and Mom (voice and motion by Joan Cusack: Toy Story 3) — is still the creepiest, least appealing way to animate realistic humans. And the Martian civilization is disappointingly underdeveloped. Director and cowriter Simon Wells (The Time Machine) has mostly chosen cluttered over clever, particularly in how he (and cowriter Wendy Wells) have chosen to expand on the story in Berkeley “Bloom County” Breathed’s children’s book [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada] [Amazon U.K.]. And why eschew entirely Breathed’s beautiful illustration style for a look so generic as what ended up onscreen? Meh. It’s not terrible. But it’s not very good, either.

Watch Mars Needs Moms online using LOVEFiLM’s streaming service.

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