The 1994 David O. Russell film, Spanking the Monkey, has, or seems to have, something important to say about family incohesiveness and breakdown, but that didn’t prevent me from seeing it on my first viewing as shoddy and on my second viewing as a shoddy bore.  All that stuff about college boy Raymond’s lovemaking difficulties with the high school girl meanders enough to make it a bore.  When Raymond and his mother childishly play with some cheese they’re supposed to be eating, it constitutes some of the tackiest film footage to be shown in ’94 and probably beyond.  As for the gradual mother-son incest, why bother to comment?  It doesn’t offend; I just have no idea why it’s there, why it occurs.  Is it merely because mother and son are sexually starved?  Not viable.  Spanking the Monkey is an independent film—independent of taste and brains.

Cover of "Spanking the Monkey"

Cover of Spanking the Monkey