Shortly after his second divorce, science fiction novelist John Henderson (Albert Brooks) moves in with his mother Beatrice (Debbie Reynolds). Unlike other adult children who return home to live off their parents, he has a specific goal in mind: to find out why they have never gotten along. Whenever Beatrice talks about her family, she praises her favorite son Jeff (Rob Morrow), a successful sports agent, and refers to John disparagingly as "the other one." Soon mother and son are squabbling over their differing views on money, food, and family matters.

Mother was one of the freshest and funniest comedies of 1996. Writer and director Albert Brooks cuts to the quick with his illuminating insights into why parents and their adult children have trouble accepting each other as real people. Debbie Reynolds gives a classy and nuanced performance as Beatrice, a seemingly traditional woman whose past holds some big surprises. Albert Brooks is just right as the vulnerable and prickly John Henderson, a man who is on a quest to find out the truth about himself and his mother. This delightful and engaging film challenges us all to see our parents more clearly and more compassionately.