Hi, Mom!

Curiously interesting early effort from Brian De Palma and Robert De Niro is which De Niro plays a porno filmmaker. He leases a ratty apartment in New York, across the street from an expensive co-op where Garfield, a wealthy producer of "adult" films, lives. The benevolent Garfield takes De Niro under his wing and gives him advice about how to make these...read more

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Curiously interesting early effort from Brian De Palma and Robert De Niro is which De Niro plays a porno filmmaker. He leases a ratty apartment in New York, across the street from an expensive co-op where Garfield, a wealthy producer of "adult" films, lives. The benevolent Garfield takes De

Niro under his wing and gives him advice about how to make these sleazy movies. He spies comely neighbor Salt and wants to sleep with her--for his own benefit and the camera's. He promptly sets up his camera on his window sill, goes across the street, and proceeds to seduce her, but his camera

falls and he misses his opportunity to immortalize the encounter on film.

De Niro then gets a job as an actor in an off-Broadway revue called "Be Black, Baby!" The actors all walk out in whiteface and begin to blacken the faces of the white audience, then abuse them both verbally and physically. Meanwhile, a gang of urban guerrillas, raid the huge apartment building,

but they are all cut down by machine-gun fire. A young businessman in the high-rise just happens to have a 50-millimeter gun in his apartment. Salt and De Niro marry; she gets pregnant and becomes an instant nag, pestering him with her dreams of having a dishwasher. De Niro calmly goes to the

building's basement and tosses a huge charge of dynamite into the clothes washer which levels the entire building.

De Niro, before he became a major star, made a fine living playing weird types (GREETINGS, BLOODY MAMA), and his role here is no exception. Partially filmed in 16mm black and white, HI, MOM! is an original, often inventive picture, though it is also disjointed and sometimes painfully slow-moving.

When it's on the money, the satire is very funny, particularly in its lampooning of the "touchy-feely" theater which had some popularity in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Most of the time, however, the film misses its targets and comes off as simply amateurish.

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