Trading Mom

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -1

Adapted from a children's book, TRADING MOM is a modern day fairy tale about a single mom who isn't getting along too well with her three children. Played by Sissy Spacek, the mom is a strict, but loving disciplinarian. This prompts the children, preteens Harvey and Jeremy and 14-year-old Elizabeth (Asher Metchik, Aaron Metchik, Anna Chlumsky) to wish she was no longer their mom. At the suggestion of an elderly lady friend (Maureen Stapleton), they use some magical incantations. These chants cause their mother to disappear and erase any memory of her from their minds. But now the children need a replacement mom. Again the elderly lady steps in with magic chants to create a "mummy market." This is a carnival like place where various women display their talents, hoping to entice some children to let them be their mom. The children have three chances to select a new mom, and much of the film portrays their comical, but frustrating experiences with their three selections. TRADING MOM is a rather clever story with lots of genuinely funny moments. It will appeal primarily to children under 12.

After the children try three moms, they decide their own mom is best after all. They then resort to more magical chants to bring her back. The idea of them eliminating their mom is disturbing, but the story tends to redeem itself when they decide they want her back. The most disturbing element, however, is the blatant use of magical incantations to get what they want. The children's lady friend even says, "sorcery took your mom away." This use of magical powers seems to go beyond the fantasy magic of fairy tales such as CINDERELLA, PINOCCHIO and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Further, the use of occultic powers by children is a major theme of the story and is portrayed as quite acceptable. It is so pervasive that children might be encouraged to experiment in the occult. This is particularly unfortunate since the film has a commendable message about mothers. Also, it is refreshingly free of any offensive language or sexual content. Some mild violence occurs when the school principal gets caught in a trap. TRADING MOM has some real possibilities, but its magical elements seem to cross the line into the favorable portrayal of occult practices.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
Trimark Pictures, 2644 30th St., Santa Monica, CA 90232

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Once - Moderate

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: Several times - Moderate (woman jumps on man; man hit low in stomach; bus crashes into water line; woman knocked down; man's foot caught in trap)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: Magical incantations used to eliminate and bring back mother; children lose memory through magic; mother's market created by magic; horse passes gas and defecates on woman

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Preteens

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