In an unconventional move, this review will only focus on one part of a three part movie.
'Oedipus Wrecks' was Woody Allen's contribution to 'New York Stories' a short film collection that also featured Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola.
Sheldon's (Allen) mother (Mae Questel) is an overbearing, overly-critical burden to him. His fiancee, Lisa (Mia Farrow) doesn't meet her approval and his mother lets him know it. On top of it all, she constantly embarrasses him.
After confessing to his therapist that he wishes she would disappear, he takes her to a magic show where she is called on stage to participate in a trick. She goes into a box and disappears for real!
Sheldon is initially worried, searching for her all over New York. He quickly embraces his freedom and becomes happier than he ever thought possible. Then, one day, his mother appears in the sky in such a large form that the whole city can see and hear her. She embarrasses Sheldon on as large as scale as humanly possible and there is nowhere that he can hide from her.
How to deal with this problem?
'Oedipus Wrecks' appeared in 1989, after a series of serious movies and before another bunch of serious works. It is the silliest and lightest of those works but also one of the more immediately enjoyable.
The stereotype of the overbearing Jewish mother and the browbeaten son are played with heavily here and your ability to relate/recognize the behavior could affect one's enjoyment. Even to an outsider, it is quite funny.
This is kind of a one-joke deal but some tiny quips and asides in the style of Allen. It is all mildly funny and reminiscent of some of his slight, early 80’s comedies.
Special features include: none.
'Oedipus Wrecks' is an amusing little footnote in Allen's career. It is far from essential viewing but it stands as a nice little comedic breather in the middle of some heavy subject matter that his other films covered.
Rated PG 40 minutes ('Oedipus Wrecks') / 124 minutes (total movie) 1989