Kathleen Turner is the perfect Martha Stewart/June Cleaver wife and mother who feels very strongly about her family, manners, chewing gum, fashion faux pas, and recycling. So strongly in fact that when this suburban housewife snaps, she goes on a killing spree. Her family, and the town at large, are at once appalled, terrified and absolutely thrilled and fascinated by her and when she is arrested and brought to trial, well in John Water's films the bad guy is the good guy and the bad guy always wins.
If you're at all familiar with Waters' earlier movies then you know enough to expect his films to be tacky at best--disgusting at worst. Waters himself embraces tacky as a misunderstood art form. Serial Mom is too lighthearted and bright to be called a dark comedy and yet it is too disgusting a comedy to have made much of a main stream splash in America. Which is a shame because frankly, the idea behind Serial Mom and the intentionally ridiculous dialogue delivered with such credibility by the actors, makes this one of the best suburban satires of the last 10 years, taking especially sharp aim at society's intense drive to make celebrities out of killers. Serial Mom is like American Beauty on an incredible acid trip--much less painful emotionally but no less effective satirically.
Good clear image and sound and perfect bright suburban colors. This is a high quality disc at an incredibly low retail price. HBO has done a fine job with this transfer. They must not have expected big sales here but I think they'll be surprised.
Buy this disc for the director's commentary. I had almost as much fun listening to John Waters laugh at his own jokes and point out funny set and cast member stories as I did watching the movie. On most DVDs when there is commentary it is a good thing to have more than one person talking about the movie together. That way they can play off one another and there is some camaraderie that helps keep the commentary interesting. Waters has that camaraderie with his audience and there is no reason to put anyone else in the studio with him. It was like he was sitting on my couch, grabbing my arm and going, "Look, look at Kathleen waving out the window of the van!" Totally worth the price of the disc.
In addition, this DVD has not only the theatrical trailer but all of the television spots and a behind-the-scenes featurette. The only thing missing here is goofs or bloopers. That would have been great fun I'm sure.
You either love John Waters or you don't get him (or you're really really squeamish). It amazes me that a movie as disgusting as There's Something About Mary can make a killing while Serial Mom is often poo-poohed by the same audience. Kathleen Turner kills an old lady with a leg of lamb, for crying out loud, what's funnier than that!
Amy Morrison, 3/27/00