Where's Poppa?

  • 1970
  • Movie
  • R
  • Comedy

Once again, George Segal is saddled with a difficult Jewish mother, as he was in NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY and LOST AND FOUND. This time, though, she's little short of a senile psychopath. Robert Klane wrote the screenplay from his hysterical novel, and Reiner directed it, but missed many of the jokes that worked so well in the book. A New York attorney,...read more

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Once again, George Segal is saddled with a difficult Jewish mother, as he was in NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY and LOST AND FOUND. This time, though, she's little short of a senile psychopath. Robert Klane wrote the screenplay from his hysterical novel, and Reiner directed it, but missed many

of the jokes that worked so well in the book.

A New York attorney, Segal, lives with Gordon, his aged and quite senile mother. He has never married because she has fouled up all of his relationships. She deserves to be in a home, but Segal promised his late father that he would look after her. At the beginning of the film, Segal awakens to a

local radio show, showers, shaves, puts on a gorilla suit, and races into Gordon's room. We're not sure if he wants to cheer her up or cause her to have a heart attack. She responds by punching him hard in the groin and saying, "You almost scared me to death," as she laughs. Segal, doubled over in

pain, mumbles, "Almost is not good enough." Gordon prepares orange slices for Segal's breakfast, then eats them herself, along with breakfast cereal smothered in Coca-Cola. Segal's brother, Leibman, is married to Allen and refuses to help in the care of Gordon, so Segal hires a succession of

nurses, but none stay past noon because Gordon is impossible to deal with. Eventually Segal meets and hires Van Devere, a sweet nurse with a strange background. She's been married once, for 32 hours. After her first sexual experience with her husband, she was appalled to find that he'd defecated

in bed. Van Devere is thrilled to find a man like Segal, and the two are soon in love, though Gordon does her best to scare the young woman off.

The ultimate black comedy about difficult Jewish mothers, WHERE'S POPPA? can be very funny, but suffers from the non-stop barrage of jokes. A few quieter moments would have allowed the humor more room to breathe. Reiner's son, Rob, a onetime cast member of television's "All in the Family" who

would go on to be an acclaimed director in his own right (STAND BY ME, MISERY), makes a cameo appearance. Filmed on location in New York City, WHERE'S POPPA? has become a cult favorite, though it has been radically edited for television showings and must be seen in its entirety to be fully

appreciated.

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  • Rating: R
  • Review: Once again, George Segal is saddled with a difficult Jewish mother, as he was in NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY and LOST AND FOUND. This time, though, she's little short of a senile psychopath. Robert Klane wrote the screenplay from his hysterical novel, and Reine… (more)

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