Introducing the Dwights Cherie Nowlan

Introducing the Dwights Cherie Nowlan
The woods are full of movies with the sons of castrating mothers saved by life-giving lovers. Thus it’s no surprise that Introducing the Dwights offers no new variations on the theme and is distinguished only by one standout performance.

Tim (Khan Chittenden) is a virginal 20-year-old Australian who lives with his comedienne mother Jean (Brenda Blethyn). Jean’s act is largely based on the sexual humiliation of men and her vengeful feelings towards her ex-husband, so it’s no surprise that she demands total dominion over Tim and his mentally challenged brother Mark (Richard Wilson). Unfortunately for mom, Tim meets Jill (Emma Booth), a sweet and lovely girl who falls in love with our man, creating a power struggle of (apparently) hilarious and heart-warming proportions.

So, it’s male nightmare versus male fantasy: Jean’s character is a possessive gorgon with no redeeming features and Jill is a goddess of sex whose main function is to fulfil the fantasies Tim can’t initiate himself. Never mind that his mother has some legitimate beefs with the husband who won’t shoulder his part of the parental burden — the "flight from mummy” plot is older than time and can only go one way.

The cast is largely quite good but Blethyn knocks it out of the park as the British transplant wishing her life had gone another way. She’s a great actress in a role that doesn’t deserve her, lending dimension and nuance to what another performer would have turned into a cardboard monster. But there’s no getting around the implicit sexism of the role and the storyline, made all the more outrageous by the "sensitive” tone the movie adopts.

If you miss it, don’t worry: another one just like it will be by in a couple of months. (Warner)