Even when you know where The Meddler is going, Susan Sarandon is so likable as Marnie, a mom from Brooklyn with a thick accent and a big heart, you root for her and yet understand why her daughter Lori wants to keep her at bay. It's not every mother who would corner your ex, and ask him to go back with you. Rose Byrne plays Marnie's daughter who is not always appreciative of mom's special gifts, including her meddling, or as I'd call it, her pathological intrusiveness. She needs to get a life, and she does. From director Lorene Scafaria's screenplay, and based on her experiences, The Meddler is funny, wise, easily the most crowd-pleasing film opening this week.
In minor roles, Cecily Strong, Michael McKean, and the adorable hunky Billy Magnussen make for a wonderful supporting cast. And in case you were wondering what ever happened to last year's best supporting actor for Whiplash, J. K. Simmons, here he is as romantic lead, a cool guy on a Harley who raises chickens. Wow!
I saw The Meddler in a roomful of moms and fidgety kids, at a special Mamarazzi screening at the Crosby Street Hotel sponsored by Peter Pan Simply Ground Peanut Butter, K Mart, and the MOMS, a multiplatform lifestyle brand celebrating motherhood. After the screening, Sarandon, now a grandmother, and Byrne, a new mom (she had a daughter with Bobby Cannavale) spoke from their perspectives on the mommyhood spectrum. Byrne is still in the sleepless nights phase. Sarandon held forth on her ample experience as a mother of teens saying she was often too busy working to meddle herself, but it was better to overstep than not meddle at all.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.