Dennis suggests Spanking the Monkey (in Comedy). Here’s a pitch meeting I’d have liked to be in on: “Okay, well, I’m a first-time director, see, and I’ve got this semi-autobiographical script about a young guy who ends up spending a summer home from college taking care of his mom, ’cause she broke her leg, and, well, they end up having sex. It’s a comedy. Oh, and the title is ‘Spanking the Monkey’. Can I have eighty thousand dollars?” Yup, that’s the first film from acclaimed director David O. Russell [Three Kings, Flirting With Disaster, I Heart Huckabees], and, well, it’s great. Young Jeremy Davies launched his semilucrative career of playing birdlike, twitchy naifs (see ‘Lost’, Solaris, Saving Private Ryan, Ravenous, many others) with his portrayal of a young dude with a screwed up family life, a frustrated libido, and a very literal Oedipal situation to deal with, and he walks the tightwire here with nimble aplomb, making this poor bastard likable and pitiable as he copes with, seemingly, every uncomfortable, squirmy encounter humanly possible in a hundred minutes. Similarly, Alberta Watson succeeds in making the mother, cheated on, self-medicating, and, well, let’s just say issues-laden as she is, somewhat sympathetic and human. Here, as in Flirting With Disaster, director Russell wrings a laugh out with every gasp of disbelief as his characters are made to suffer for our enjoyment. Taboos, shmaboos!