Some movies really don’t feel like movies, and in most cases it’s because they were originally a TV show. Case in point, The X-Files: Fight The Future, any movie in the Jackass Franchise, and some of the Star Trek films. iMordecai has a similar feel to any of those, except it wasn’t a TV show first. It was simply a bunch of things that happened to director Marvin Samel and his family. The result unfortunately is a mixed bag, with some truly funny moments mixed in with nonsense for a disjointed experience.
Mordecai Samel (Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans) is a Holocaust survivor and retired plumber. He believes he can do anything he sets his mind to. He’s also a cheapskate when it comes to replacing or repairing things. His son Marvin (Sean Astin, Stranger Things) thinks it’s about time his father starts facing the modern world. Marvin buys him an iPhone. And he even hires someone to help him learn how to use it. The question is, will Mordecai be able to make the adjustments in his life in order to accommodate such a change?
The first thing that stands out about iMordecai is the cast. Hirsch is coming off an Oscar nomination, Carol Kane usually stands out in whatever project she’s a part of, and Astin is always reliable. Unfortunately they don’t really mesh all that well together, and just seem like they are doing their own things. Hirsch and Kane play husband and wife, yet they don’t really give off the old married couple vibe. And even though he plays their son, Astin don’t feel like he’s part of the family. It might not be their fault however, and could just be lazy filmmaking that is causing the problem.
After all the story just doesn’t seem to flow, and feels more like a stand-up comedy routine that moves on from crazy story to crazy story, with some drama thrown in for good measure. As I say this, there are some truly funny moments in the movie that will make you laugh out loud. Mordecai’s cheapness being one of them. The real problem is though that the film doesn’t know what it wants it be. Does it want to be a touching story about a son helping his dad get with the times, or does it want to be about an irresponsible man stuck in the past?
iMordecai might have been better suited as a four or five part Netflix series. This theoretical show could break each of the events down to their own individual episode. It might have given the actors a bit more to go on as well, and given them time to gel together. It would also have helped the story avoid the issue it had with going off on tangents that had nothing to do with the main plot. TV series have the opportunity to go off on unexpected directions, and not wreck anything while doing it. iMordecai isn’t a terrible movie, but it’s not a great one either.
- Release Date: 4/6/2023