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Mom's Outta Sight

review by Ren C.


Rated PG

Running Time: 89 minutes

Starring Hannes Jaenicke, Melissa Williamson, Steve Scionti

Written by: Sean O'Bannon

Directed by: Peter Stewart

Studio: Fox

Retail Price: $19.98

Features: Theatrical Trailer, Cast and Director Biographies, Fox Flix Trailers

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Frame, English Dolby Stereo, English Closed Captions, English Subtitles, Chapter Search

Released: September 4th, 2001

It has been stated on a number of occasions recently that there is a dearth of good movies for children. "Mom's Outta Sight" does absolutely nothing to disprove that theory. The movie, while geared toward children, is probably insulting even to them. The acting could not possibly be broader, and the effects and story are very simplistic.

The plot revolves around a transmitting ray, called the Triton, which is able to transport people from one place to another, much like the transporter in "Star Trek." With a device like this, the chances of some nefarious characters wanting to get their hands on it are fairly high. We start the movie with a very shady looking character offering one of the associate scientists working on the ray four million dollars to give him the ray. The scientist, Carl McGavin, readily agrees, and realizes that the plan is going to take some doing.

He enlists the aid of the lab assistant, Angie, and the two start their plan. The mildly convoluted plan requires them to get the schematics of the machine from the house of Dr. Richards (Hannes Jaenicke), the designer of the machine. In order to do this, they use the machine for its second, very convenient feature, to change Angie into a complete duplicate of Richards. Having made this fairly considerable leap of faith, and having trapped Richards in an abandoned warehouse, the faux Richards sets off to steal the plans. She/he manages to do so, but thanks to some quick thinking by Richards' son Jackie, all is not lost. Richards' wife Barbara (Melissa Williamson) quickly makes her way to the warehouse and through another wacky twist of fate is turned invisible by the machine. This, according to the box cover, is "where the fun begins!" The mission now is to get the machine back and to clear Richards' name before the police and the FBI catch up with everyone.

This movie, in premise, is not necessarily a bad idea. The idea of the transmitting ray is always appealing to children, both young and young at heart. However, the leaps of faith required here are so broad as to be insulting, and most of the actors look as though they are reading directly off the cue cards. My biggest problem with the movie, however, is the attitude that it takes toward violence. Several scenes in the movie use violent scenes between both the children and adults to garner laughs. This sends a very bad message to the impressionable children that could be watching, and casts a pall over the entire movie.

With an apparently brief theatrical run when it was first released in 1998, I was surprised that this movie was presented in a fullscreen form. The transfer is not great, with flesh tones often looking washed out, and the entire picture taking on a hue that was somewhat pale. There were also numerous instances of grain to be found throughout the film, and there was one instance with a fairly noticeable and fairly large artifact. While this movie is low budget, I would have liked to see the transfer look slightly better.

A Dolby Stereo track is provided here, which sounds nothing more than average. Dialogue is never hard to understand, and sound effects come through relatively crisply and clearly. Ambient sounds are used to fairly good effect and the track as a whole comes off as fair, but nothing more.

I wasn't expecting really anything in the way of features here, and I wasn't disappointed. The Theatrical Trailer for the film is presented, as are brief Biographies for the principal cast and director. Also included are Fox Flix Trailers for two of Fox's other low-budget, family oriented films, "To Walk With Lions" and "Ping!"

While the plot of this movie could have led to something, the hackneyed situations and overbearingly bad acting detracted greatly from the overall experience. There were only a few enjoyable moments throughout the movie, and those were brief. The transfer is subpar, and the audio only fair. Features are bottom of the line, and even with the relatively inexpensive retail price, the overall package is not enough for me to recommend the movie.

(2/5 - NOT included in final score)




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