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Spanking the Monkey 1994

Raymond Aibelli is a promising medical student ready to begin a prestigious summer internship. But Susan, his mother, is immobilized by a broken leg, and his father Tom, a travelling...

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Imdb rating: 6.4

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Written and Directed by David O'Russell
Genre: Comedy/Drama
MPAA: not rated
Runtime: 100 minutes
Plot Summary: Raymond Aibelli is a promising medical student ready to begin a prestigious summer internship. But Susan, his mother, is immobilized by a broken leg, and his father Tom, a travelling salesman, makes Raymond stay home and take care of his mother, an attractive though unhappy woman. - IMDB

Its title would lead you to believe that its all about masturbation. I assure you that "spanking the monkey" is not its concern. David O'Russell's debut film is a sad and harrowing look at incest and child abuse. While its characters aren't exactly likeable, they are no doubt intriguing. The storytelling doesn't exactly use conventions in pacing or plot, but it takes its time in involving the audience. Many will be turned away, believing it to be empty and devoid of purpose. Others will delve into the I-can't-believe-this-happens part of their brain and realize this film for what it is. It is a hard subject to document, but I feel as if Spanking the Monkey does a good job. And Jeremy Davies does a great job.

If you like Spanking the Monkey, you might also like...
- Happiness (Todd Solondz, 1998) - Three middle-class New Jersey sisters all have their problems with their families and sex lives. - IMDB
- Welcome to the Dollhouse (Todd Solondz, 1995) - Insightful look at an unattractive 7th grader as she struggles to cope with un-attentive parents, snobbish classmates, a smart older brother, an attractive younger sister, and her own insecurities. - IMDB
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Spanking the Monkey: 5/10

Spanking the Monkey is a very interesting independent film. It has a subject matter that is very taboo and will make people disgusted, but it's execution is thoughtful, dark and engaging.
The movie is about Raymond Aibelli, a promising med student forced by his father to take care of his bedridden mother while he's on a business trip, making Ray miss his internship. With his mother Susan with a broken leg, she makes poor Ray do things like carry her to the shower, scrub her back, and bring her food. He tries maturbating in the bathroom when he has free time (this is where the title comes from), but his father's dog keeps interrupting him and having Ray take him on long walks. During these walks, he meets a girl named Toni, who his younger than him. He tries to have a relationship with her, but it ends up going sour in the end.
One night, while he and his mother are watching TV, they somehow get drunk and playful, and then...(SPOILER WARNING) Ray ends up having sex with his mother!
You think that with a story summary like this, you would think that it would be a perverted amatuer porn video. You would be wrong. This is probably in my opinion a very good movie about sexual confusion. It's also a good movie about child negletion. The main characters view each other as if they are in certain roles, like the father treating Ray like he's just a babysitter, The mother treating Ray like a servant, and Ray treating his mother like she's a thorn on his side.
People have labeled this movie as a comedy. They are half correct. There are parts that are funny, but they are few and far in between. It's mostly a drama about being trapped in a situation you don't want to be in. This movie was directed by David O. Russell, who would go on to make films like Flirting with Disaster, Three Kings, and I Heart Huckabees, all of them good films, with energy and good pace. This film will definately make most people uncomfortable, which it did for me during the first hour, but in my opinion didn't go far enough to be shocking. Yes I know less is more, but it just wasn't shocking enough to raise questions about the subject manner, but Spanking the Monkey is worth checking out for it's engaging performances and decent story. Overall, This film is dark and thoughtfull, and a fitting feature debut for filmmaker David O. Russell.:up:
Dark humor and a twisted relation between mother and son. Alberta Watson shines in this one.



4 Out Of 10
Twisted to the point madness, dark, and racy. This incestuous, mind boggling dark comedy is amazingly down to earth for being so dark it's almost isolating. Kudos to Davies