There are so many names for masturbation, and this is probably the best.
Susan Aibelli (Alberta Watson), a married, lonely woman, suffers a leg injury at home just as her husband is about to leave on his job as a travelling salesman and her son, Raymond (Jeremy Davies), is about to leave for the summer on a medical internship. Her son is forced to stay at home to take care of her as his father is gone.
This film is directed by David O. Russell who is known for Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees, and shows us with his debut that he can still make very dark comedic films, though I can see how this was his first.
The film starts out with a lot of promise, right from the beginning. We get some good laughs here and there with a pretty believable character and story. The only problem is that out of nowhere the film turns into a nutty very unbelievable story.
I had plenty of problems with this film that kind of made this experience too hard to enjoy. First of all the main character is a guy we start out by having absolutely no idea of who he is. And by the way it looks I didn’t want to know, because he acted like such a nerdy dick throughout the whole movie. Also, his mom looked nothing like the age had her out to be. And every time they were on screen together, I couldn’t believe them two as a mother and son; probably more as a flirtatious couple, I know it was very weird as was this movie.
The film is disturbing at points and will actually make you cringe at the site of it cause there is an event that happens and the way it does is surely a sight to see, that’s if you can bear to actually watch.
Now I will say one thing about the film and that is Russell knows how to write a very catchy and witty film as he does with this. The film has rich dialogue that is darkly funny while on the other hand is dramatically serious, while still maintaining the right taste of humor.
The performances are also what did it for me. Jeremy Davies who you have probably seen before gives a good performance as this low-life, who really has no life and goes through some very tough transitions as an actor. Alberta Watson does an ok job as the mom but I still found her to be a bit contrived when it came to her being her.
Consensus: Spanking The Monkey has impressive performances and rich dialogue, but has so much promise and fails mostly due to its plot that gets turned into total craziness and disbelief.