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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Review: 'Mommy's Little Boy'

Briana (Bree Williamson of "One Life to Live" fame) is a single (and very drunk) mother of two young sons -- Max and Eric. These kids could not be any different from each other. Max (Auden Larratt) is a brute who likes to torture the shy Eric (Peter DaCuhna). He also likes to hurt animals...but luckily, Eric saves the day when he tries to plunge a power drill into a defenseless dog.

Although Max definitely is a crappy kid, he's still "Mommy's Little Boy" and can do no wrong ... hence, the title of last night's Lifetime premiere movie. The story really kicks off when the kids are at the pool, and mom is stone cold wasted. After trying to drown Eric, Max decides to show off his diving skills. Bad move. He hits his head and sinks to the bottom as Eric looks on ... and does NOT help.

So, Max drowns and Eric is rid of at least one of his life's problems. Things get really bad for this kid when concerned neighbor Barbara (Brigitte Robinson) tells Briana she's alerting the authorities to her drunken lifestyle and poor parenting. Briana slugs her with a frying pan and proceeds to murder her in front of Eric. She then tells Eric that he's headed to the big house if he utters a word of the killing to anyone.

Eric wrestles with two deaths on his conscience and meets kindly teacher/baseball coach Michael (Paul Popowich), who (whether he likes it or not) becomes a friend/dad figure. Meanwhile, mom is loaded and still trying to cover her murderous tracks.

Yes, this is a family only Dr. Phil could love, but it's one of the most memorable Lifetime clans I've seen in recent years. In short, "Mommy's Little Boy" absolutely rocks. The movie reunites the terrific tandem of writer Christine Conradt and director Curtis Crawford, two of the minds behind last year's classic "Mommy's Little Girl" and a host of other Lifetime epics. Conradt's story balances smarts with schlock to keep viewers engaged, and Crawford builds a steady level of suspense, rarely letting up. Williamson is downright scary and convincing as an abusive alcoholic, and her onscreen son DaCahuna creates a conflicted, compelling kid. He creates a sympathetic character, but the audience is never too sure whether this young man  may be permanently damaged by his upbringing. Supporting actors Natalie Lisinska, Allison Graham and particularly Sebastian Pigott (as the sleazy Shane) also deserve props.

"Mommy's Little Boy" is a big addition to Lifetime's roster of "Mommy" titles -- "Killing Mommy," "Mommy I Didn't Do It," "Double Mommy" (which also premiered this weekend), etc. It's definitely one of the best movies the network has premiered this year. If you missed it, tune into Lifetime on at 9 p.m., April 1 for an encore showing.

"Mommy's Little Boy": Directed by Curtis Crawford; Starring Bree Williamson as Briana, Peter DaCuhna as Eric, Paul Popowich as Michael, Sebastian Pigott as Shane, Natalie Lisinska as Sherry, Allison Graham as Detective Myers, Brigitte Robinson as Barbara, Auden Laratt as Max

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