I’m Not Jesus Mommy (Vaughn Juares, 2010)
For the first third or so of its length, save some subpar acting, I’m Not Jesus Mommy is an intriguing little low-budget movie that, on many levels, makes perfect sense. Kimberly Gabriel (Bridget McGrath in her first feature), an obstetrician, is haunted by her own inability to conceive. When maverick researcher Roger Gibson (Living Arrangements‘ Charles Hubbell) approaches her with a fat government contract and some snake oil about human cloning, she resists at first, but eventually sees the opportunity in light of her own ulterior motives. The obvious question becomes: how far will a woman go to have a baby?
Then we skip forward seven years, and everything goes to hell. Earth is locked in the middle of a new ice age. The streets are dangerous, there is little food to go around, and Roger, Roger’s sister, Kimberly, and Kimberly’s son David are holed up in a small apartment, only going out when absolutely necessary to procure food. The entire remainder of the film takes place in that apartment.
Sounds promising, no? And perhaps in the right hands, the final two-thirds of the movie could have been turned into the kind of tense sci-fi thriller that Vaughn Juares obviously intended this to be. But, and isn’t there always a “but” after a statement like that?, it…isn’t. I’m not entirely sure how to put this tactfully, so I’ll go with “I’m not Jesus Mommy rivals The Room for moments of unintentional hilarity.” One-room dramas live and die based on the quality of the actors involved, so the “some subpar acting” of the first third, which you can gloss over with everything else going on, takes center stage. Add in a script that leaves out just a little too much to be impressionist and never avoids cliché—in fact, runs headlong into it as often as possible—and you’ve got something that ends up being a chore to sit through. Don’t hit play on this one unless you have prepared yourself for an overdose of cheese. *