FANTASIA FEST 2021: ‘Mother Schumckers’ Needs To Grow Up

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Mother Shmuckers

Mother Schmuckers is a Belgian-language comedy film written and directed by Harpo Guit & Lenny Guit. Brothers Issachar (Maxi Delmelle) and Zabulon (Harpo Guit) have a lot in common: they love to wander around Brussels and cause chaos-whether it’s knocking over displays in the grocery store or convincing their friend to loan them his gun. However, while on one of their escapades, the brothers lose their mother Cashmere (Claire Bodson)’s dog, January Jack. Cashmere gives Issachar and Zabulon an ultimatum: either find January Jack, or she will kick them out.

The official runtime for this film is 70 minutes, and I spent most of that time mouthing a single sentence: “What am I watching?” The Guit brothers seem to have filtered their sensibilities from when they were teenagers into this film, and like any good teenager, that consists mostly of gag humor involving bodily fluids and sexual situations. A key example comes in the film’s opening, where Issachar and Zabulon appear to be cooking their mother some breakfast. It turns out that “breakfast” is actually dog excrement, which one of the boys ends up eating and causes Cashmere to vomit profusely-the chunks of which spread into the opening titles. I kid you not. This is how the story begins.

And it only gets worse. Perhaps the most shocking scene for me personally was when the boys finally find January Jack; somehow, the pup ended up in an orgy where people commit sexual acts with dogs. I almost turned off the movie there because I was too grossed out to carry on—but believe it or not; things only get worse from there. Contrary to what certain segments of the Internet would have you believe, moviemaking is a collaborative process: the cast and crew should come to an accord and learn when to change or cut things. I say this to convey that somebody should have told the Guit brothers when enough was enough when filming this.

Making things worse is that the film seems to mistake shock value for humor, topping itself in how far it’s willing to go. Comedy, much like horror, is about timing: you have to wait for the right moment to deploy the scares or the jokes; otherwise, you fail to get laughs or screams from the audience. Much like Them, which relentlessly hammered its characters-and by extension, the audience-with trauma, Mother Schumckers keeps throwing gross-out after gross-out at its audience. It’s the cinematic equivalent of a kid hopped up on sugar running around and begging you to pay attention to him; eventually, you will grow tired long before he does.

Mother Schmuckers is sheer unfiltered chaos, crossing several boundaries during its runtime-including the boundaries of good taste. Teenagers will probably eat it up, but anybody who enjoys well-constructed comedy or even well-constructed movies would be better off skipping this one. I hope for their sake that this movie lets the Guit brothers get all of the immaturity out of their system and that their next movie is something that doesn’t rely on shocking the audience every five minutes.

Mother Schumuckers had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this January and is currently playing at Fantasia Fest International 2021.

 


Mother Schmuckers
  • 1/10
    Rating - 1/10
1/10

TL;DR

Mother Schmuckers is sheer unfiltered chaos, crossing several boundaries during its runtime-including the boundaries of good taste. Teenagers will probably eat it up, but anybody who enjoys well-constructed comedy or even well-constructed movies would be better off skipping this one. I hope for their sake that this movie lets the Guit brothers get all of the immaturity out of their system and that their next movie is something that doesn’t rely on shocking the audience every five minutes.