Throw Momma from the Train

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Throw Momma from the Train Movie Poster Image
Dark '80s comedy with slapstick and sexual content.
  • PG-13
  • 2005
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Though couched in humor, the movie takes a rather negative view of women -- as nagging mothers and betraying wives. Larry's constant admonition that a "writer writes always" is good advice for aspiring writers.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The two main characters aren't meant to be role models. They discuss murder at length, and one man actually follows through, though everything is meant to be humorous.

Violence

In a fantasy sequence, a man dreams of stabbing his mother with a pair of scissors. The woman is later shown with the scissors going in one side of her head and sticking out the other. A man is hit on the head with a skillet. This man is hit in the testicles by an older woman with a cane. A car veers out of control when the brakes stop working. After several close calls, the car crashes into a tree; no one is injured. In another fantasy sequence a man strangles his ex-wife to death. A man is thrown off the back of a train and requires hospitalization afterwards.

Sex

A couple has sex on a couch while an intruder spies. There is no nudity, but there are steady moans of pleasure. A man and woman start to kiss and decide they want to have sex in an outdoor town square train car, but get interrupted. During a creative writing class, one of the students turns in a story with the title "100 Girls I'd Like to Pork." Another student dismisses it as "whacking material."

Language

Occasional profanity including: "f--k," "lard ass," "bastards," "bitch," and "s--t." A man frequently refers to his ex-wife as a "slut."

Consumerism

A Pepsi can, and later, a Pepsi truck, is prominently visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A despondent writer drinks from a bottle of clear alcohol. Characters smoke. The writer celebrates the near-completion of his novel by smoking a cigar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Throw Momma from the Train, a hit dark comedy from the '80s, has violent and sexual content that makes it inappropriate for younger kids. Characters fantasize about and openly discuss murdering those who have made their lives difficult. There's slapstick physical comedy on the order of a character getting hit in the head with a skillet, hit in the crotch with a cane, and thrown out the back of a moving train. Characters freely discuss sex, and in one scene, two characters start to have sex on a couch, and their moans can be heard. Expect occasional strong language, too, like "f--k" and "s--t."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byJohn C. November 25, 2017
Kid, 11 years old March 24, 2013

THROW MAMMA WHERE?

Very dark, some funny moments. Very adult-like. Some dark and/or slapstick violence. Some implied. Just Fine. Somewhat confusing, although which is why for old... Continue reading

What's the story?

Larry (Billy Crystal) is a writer suffering an acute case of writer's block; his ex-wife stole his last manuscript and submitted it under her name and is now a best-selling celebrity author because of it. Larry is also a creative writing professor at a nearby community college where he teaches Owen (Danny DeVito), a middle-aged man who still lives at home with his mean mother. After discussing the shortcomings of a mystery story Owen turned in to class, and how Owen should study Hitchcock to understand the mechanics of great mysteries, the conversation turns to how Larry wishes his ex-wife would be murdered, and how Owen wishes his mother would be killed. As he watches the Hitchcock movie Strangers on a Train, Owen thinks he understands what Larry wants, so Owen flies to Hawaii-where Larry's ex-wife lives -- and kills her. He returns home, demanding that Larry return the favor.

Is it any good?

THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN, like many '80s comedies, isn't exactly timeless. It's as much a vehicle for Billy Crystal and Danny DeVito to goof off and engage in pratfalls and quip-offs as it is a kinda dark comedy about double murder. While it's nice to see DeVito play someone who isn't a total jerk (like in Taxi or It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), the chemistry between DeVito and Crystal is just as likely to fall flat as it is to succeed.

Many of the one-liners ("She's not a woman....she's the Terminator!" says Crystal after being knocked to the floor with a cane to the crotch) are as dated as white high-top Reeboks. There are some good twists and turns here, and in spite of everything, you do actually find yourself hoping Larry and Owen end up OK in the end. But even if the voice of Momma echoes in your head for days after, nothing else of much substance sticks after the movie ends.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about "dark comedies." What does that mean? Where does the humor originate?

  • How does this movie characterize women? Are there any stereotypes in this movie? Is it ever OK to use stereotypes for humor?

  • Who is the audience for this movie? How can you tell?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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