FBI Field Agent Henry Durand (Colin Hanks) has a problem. It seems his mother Marty (Meg Ryan) has developed a dating life of her own in the three years he's been on assignment. Now, Henry finds himself fending off midnight serenades from lovelorn Italian chefs and watching helplessly as Marty hops on the back of a college dropout's motorcycle, all of which is enough to drive him into therapy. But things get more serious when Marty begins dating Tommy (Antonio Banderas), the FBI's number one suspect in an international art theft ring. Henry soon has to witness more of his mom's love life than he ever wanted when the FBI orders him to spy on her to catch a thief!
The premise is delicious: A young, by-the-book FBI agent (Colin Hanks) is assigned his new highest-profile assignment yet--spying on his own mother (Meg Ryan). My Mom's New Boyfriend
is a romantic comedy long on both romance and
comedy, and gives Ryan her first film in a long time where she can take the laughs and run with them. Viewers will remember, with a grateful sigh, why she long reigned as the queen of American romantic comedy. Ryan plays Marty, devoted mom, who last saw her son, Henry (Hanks), three years ago when she was unhealthy, coarse, and overweight (looking like she might have borrowed Monica's fat suit from Friends
). When Henry returns home from his secret op, fiancée in tow (Selma Blair), Marty's still coarse, but has become a babe with a healthy libido. ("Oh Henry, lighten up!" is Marty's oft-repeated refrain.) Henry is horrified, but his girlfriend, Emily, is entranced. In fact, some of the film's best chemistry is between these two gifted actresses, as they spark and feed off each other's energy. When Marty takes up with the sultry Tommy (Antonio Banderas), Henry gets the ultimate "TMI" assignment: spying on his mom and her honey, suspected in an art-theft ring. Hanks squirms convincingly, Banderas smolders, and Ryan truly sparkles, giving her wacky side free rein. If the plot has a few potholes, it doesn't matter, since the cast is so stellar and has such magnetism. By sheer determination and talent, the ensemble delivers laughs and poignancy, by turns. Extras include deleted scenes (and a few memorable bloopers), and a behind-the-scenes featurette on filming on location in northern Louisiana. --A.T. Hurley