Mama Needs a Ride (2013) – By Joshua Samford

It is always said that comedy is the most subjective genre that there is. It’s the reason that there are very few comedies, within Hollywood or on the independent circuit, that are actually successful with the majority of critics. The comedies that are most often hailed by the critics are usually subtle and border on being art house cinema, as is the case with the work of Wes Anderson and the Coens. Myself, I do enjoy some pretty dumb comedies. I am not one to shy away from admitting that I like something that doesn’t break new ground or deliver an earth shattering cinematic experience. With comedy, it also seems that every film is guaranteed its own audience out there somewhere. At some point, you’re bound to find someone who thinks your movie is fall-down hillarious. While Mama Needs A Ride is a title that doesn’t seem directly aimed at me, I could see where some others might be able to pick up on its humor.

Mama Needs a Ride is a nineteen minute short comedy from filmmaker Matt Florio. The story is simple enough, as it follows a mob boss who has become infatuated with his "acting career." Having made it in a few background shots in television, the don now sees himself as the next great Italian-American actor. So, being that he has his acting coach coming over to help him throughout much of the evening, the Don sends two of his goons to go pick her up from the nursing home. These two wiseguys are far from being the smartest guys on the block, however, so such a simple task becomes nigh impossible once they discover how cantankerous and psychotic the Don’s mother happens to be.

There’s not a lot that truly needs to be said about Mama Needs a Ride. It’s humor is derived by the odd coupling of two goofy mob types who are saddled with a screaming and erratic older woman. Ultimately, there’s not a lot of original content to be found going off of this simple premise. The short introduces us to a cast of interesting characters, but at times they seem to be walking caricatures built upon the groundwork of other films. While the cast all seem to be very comfortable onscreen, the embellished-mafioso archetype doesn’t produce many laughs. We’ve seen such ideas put to use in films like Mafia, Mickey Blue Eyes, Analyse This, The Jerky Boys Movie, etc. Sometimes, when its done in a respectful way that doesn’t rely heavily on cliches, it can work. However, things get a bit broad here. However, there are hits to go with the misses, and the opening CSI-spoof that begins this short is certainly one of the highlights. The conclusion to the film, which I will not spoil, is also a really great moment and helps leave the viewer with an overall positive impression.

The short is professional looking and shows great promise. I’ve read that the filmmakers are hoping to turn Mama Needs a Ride into a feature length film, and I could see that working. If the characters had more time to breathe, then perhaps it would seem less broad. There’s a good foundation within the short, and it will be interesting to see how the feature turns out. You can read more about the film via director Matt Florio’s website: http://www.mattflorio.net/portfolio-items/mamaneedsaride