George Segal ( Just Shoot Me ) and Ruth Gordon (Harold and Maude) give the funniest performances of their careers in this outrageous comedy that 'stomps gleefully on the idea of devotion to Mom above all (Newsweek)! Featu... more »ring some of the boldest gags ever to hit the screen, Where's Poppa? is a riotously funny film (The New York Times)! Attorney Gordon Hocheiser isa man with a problemhis mother. Gordon promised his late father that he d take care of her, but when Gordon finally meets the girl of his dreams, his batty, eccentric mother is intent on turning his dreams into one huge nightmare. Soon Gordon becomes obsessed with getting rid of her before she gets rid of his girlfriend!« less
ROBERT T. from TUCSON, AZ Reviewed on 4/28/2014...
THIS MOVIE IS A PERIOD PIECE,JUST AFTER THE VIETNAM WAR. IT IS ROLL ON THE GROUND FUNNY.SOME OF THE JOKES ARE CRUDE AND PERIOD SENSITIVE.IT IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE MOVIES!!
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A VERY BLACK COMEDY....
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 12/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"George Segal is wonderful as Gordon the attorney stuck with his aging addled Mama. Ron Liebman is appropriately befuddled as the nerdish brother Sidney and Trish Van Devere (in her film debut) is strangely idyllic as Gordons' new girlfriend. But it's Ruth Gordon who's watchable here. She is fearless in her hilarious (and, yes, touching) portrayal of Mama. You never know if it's all an act to keep her son Gordon hamstringed or if she's really senile or ,by todays' standards, in the onset of Alzheimers'. She's such a skilled performer. Whatever the truth is, she's delightful to watch. This is a "bare bones" disc: no real extras except the trailer and the bizarre alternate ending ("Papa's here") which I won't describe. The film looks great and it is very tasteless in spots but nonetheless enjoyable if you're game. A must if you're a Segal or Gordon fan and a rare treasure of way-y-y-y off-beat black comedy."
A classic without peer
reader 1001 | 08/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The brothers Hocheiser make a solemn promise to their dying father that they will "never put their mother (Ruth Gordon) in a home." But brother Gordon (George Siegel) gets stuck with the old dingbat and she is wrecking his life. His law practice is falling apart, his sex life nonexistent, and he can't even hire a nurse to take care of the wacko. Then, suddenly, a nurse-- the girl of his dreams comes along, but mother has other ideas. This wonderful, creative, hilarious 1970 classic comedy directed by Carl Reiner with its gallows humor could not be made today. We have lost much of our artistic freedom to political correctness, commercial timidity and lack of creative talent. But don't take my word for it, ask Mel Brooks who has remarked that some of his movies could not be made today either. Fortunately we can get the video. The movie does require a somewhat offbeat taste to appreciate. Everything and everyone is in a kind of reality warp, the Hocheiser family, the Central Park muggers, the police, the nurse Louise (Patricia Van Devere). The movie is also comment on life in America in 1970, and on how family members manipulate each other with guilt. Finally, I like the ending the movie was released with, it really does work better artistically."
Controversial Even Then
Douglas Doepke | Claremont, CA United States | 08/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the moment George Segal dons a gorilla suit and leaps on mom's bed, growling and beating a shaggy chest, whereupon mom (Ruth Gordon) delivers a paralyzing fist to his groin, the audience knows this is not a typical family relationship. In fact, the rest of the film elaborates hilariously on the mounting desperation middle-aged bachelor and attorney Segal faces as he tries to outwit the aged and addled Gordon, who turns his every stab at independence into humiliating defeat. Poor Gordon Hocheiser, he's facing a bleak future, unless something is finally done about mom.This is a signature movie of the 60's, a companion piece to that other iconoclast comedy of the period, Harold and Maude. Only here, the counter-cultural message is less noticeable, limited pretty much to mock face-offs with a deranged army general and a marauding football coach. The screenplay is richly inventive, trading on the unexpected in often highly provocative ways. The film however belongs to Segal whose comedy instinct proves flawless, his hang-dog deadpan growing ever longer as the gallows grow ever closer. We want him to win, get control of life, and escape mom's clinging grasp. But can he.The film is not so much an attack on aged parents as a healthy plea for adult independence--old lady Hocheiser has few redeeming qualities while Gordon's irrepressible girlishness, unlike her role in Harold and Maude, resembles that of a demented kewpie doll. Admittedly, the movie is not for everyone, many scenes being as outrageous as they are funny. Yet the social commentary remains lively and incisive, and despite fashions of the day, retains a distinct relevancy. (Consider the old age home operated as a zombified warehouse by Paul Sorvino looking and acting like a mafia capo.) (My copy, incidentally, contains a humorously satisfying conclusion of a car exiting in long shot.) So, if you're curious about what even the permissive and freewheeling 60's found controversial, then take a chance on this one."
George Segal Kills in The Most Underrated Movie Ever
Stephen M. Kerwick | Wichita, KS United States | 05/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone who doubts George Segal's place in the first rank of American actors over more than a generation needs to see Where's Papa. As a totally hapless, deadpan character he is far funnier in this hour and a half than lots of celebrated comics (Robin Williams, Chevy Chase)have been throughout their whole career. The courtroom scenes are the wildest ever of their type, as are the ones where Ron Leibman runs through Central Park trying to elude the gang of muggers. They can be likened to a Three Stooges comedy with profanity replacing the slapstick. This humor is more than black and certainly not for the sensitive (or the elderly), but almost 30 years after I first saw it, Robert Klane's script and Segal's performance still leave me incapacitated with laughter."
Not for faint-of-heart
Nathan Southern | 08/24/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's incredible that Carl Reiner made this film, with perhaps the darkest sense of humor in cinema history, almost thirty years ago.. and dared to go much farther than any contemporary "gross out" comedies. It might be described as the 'ultimate litmus test' for those with a twisted sense of humor... shock gags abound, about military barbarism, racism, homosexual gang rape, transvestism, and incest. And the results are astounding... not only that so much of this works, but that screenwriter Klane managed to create characters with whom we empathize, while we're laughing with disbelief at the anarchic world they inhabit. "Poppa" surely packed a wallop with audiences when it was released in 1970. Much of the humor is sidesplitting, particularly an outrageous court sequence involving a psychotic war general and a disgruntled hippie (Rob Reiner). And Ruth Gordon, as usual, is a gem. But the film is horribly dated, and filled with long, slow, humorless stretches... several scenes feel insecure, as if nothing is happening. (For instance, Reiner includes two back-to-back driving montages). The audience shouldn't be forced to spend time waiting for the next set-up; it undercuts the comic pace of the film. "Poppa" definitely isn't for all tastes, but it remains a curio. Viewers who love deliberately offensive comedic material will find themselves in hog heaven."