Somewhere between Tom Green, Quentin Dupieux, and that shithead kid across the street who always seems to be getting in trouble exists Mother Schmuckers, a chaotically silly piece of insanity that had me laughing myself stupid for 70 minutes straight.
In it we follow Issachar (Maxi Delmelle) and Zabulon (Harpo Guit, who co-wrote and co-directed), two young men who can’t help but to get in trouble at every turn. They’re part of a broken, poor family, and they typically don’t know when their next meal will arrive. Mom (Claire Bodson) is a sex worker who is at wits end with the behavior of her children, and when the mischievous duo accidentally misplaces January Jack, her adorable puppy, she gives them 24 hours to retrieve thr pooch. If they fail, they get kicked out onto the streets.
The lads take this seriously, even though they spend most of their time on the streets anyway, but are easily distracted by food, guns, and a general desire to raise hell. At such a short length there’s not much room for fat, but since the story is so simple (and its goal seems to be pure anarchy) the film is pretty much all fat. Delicious, hilarious fat. Issachar and Zabulon have a unique rapport that I cannot compare to any comedy duo that has come before, and if you can jibe with it, it never stops delivering. Add to that the fact the both actors look simultaneously like precocious nine-year-olds AND potential serial killers, and pretty much anything they do is going to come across as so gleefully unhinged as to elicit non-stop belly laughs from the viewer.
If the film went even a minute longer, it might run out of steam and become too much (it would cross the ‘Tim & Eric threshold’), but at its current length everything is managed perfectly. 90% of comedy is timing, and even if the comedic stylings on display are not to your taste, there’s no denying that there is a method behind the aggressive silliness, and that the talent both on screen and behind the camera know exactly what they’re doing. As the story sprints toward its gut-wrenching, hilarious conclusion, I am positive many viewers will check out, but if this is your cup of tea, you’re going to love it.
And really, you’ll probably know where you stand right away — the film starts with a “trying to pass poop off as chocolate” gag. Emphasis on ‘gag.’
Stay through the credits.
Part of the Philadelphia Film Festival, October 20-30, 2021; filmadelphia.org/festival