Melba, a widow in the 1950s, begins a wacky life of crime when she loses her Long Beach beauty parlor. She’s joined by her mother Sheba, her pregnant daughter Cheryl, and her daughter’s boyfriend Shawn. They head for Arkansas in a stolen Cadillac.
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Like Caged Heat before it, Demme uses the genre picture to make accessible entertainment that is constantly mocking authority. Though Mama is undeniably more exhausting and frankly somewhat irritating, it contains too much irrepressible energy to fail at its task. Plus, unlike CH it remains true to the bleakness of their situation. Plus, ACAB.