Sgt. Joseph Andrew "Joe" Bomowski (Sylvester Stallone) is a tough Los Angeles detective leading an antisocial existence. His relationship with his on-again, off-again girlfriend and precinct supervisor Lt. Gwen Harper is on the rocks. He is thus dismayed when his meddling, mind-numbingly annoying mother Tutti (Estelle Getty from The Golden Girls) pays him a surprise visit from Newark.
From the second she sets foot off the plane, she's driving him round the bend: showing embarrassing pictures of him and telling embarrassing stories about him to everyone on the plane and at the police station, insisting he eat a three course meal for breakfast, tucking him in and singing him a lullaby at night, and generally treating him as though he's seven years old. When she cleans the barrel of his gun with a pipe cleaner and thus ruins it, she heads to the hood to buy him a new one. Failing to get one legitimately from a gun store, she buys one illegally. In the process, she witnesses a homicide. She gives false information to the police about the homicide, instead letting Joe take the case on all by himself so he can get a promotion, to his chagrin. She insists on accompanying as he investigates it, to his even greater chagrin.
This 1992 comedy is considered to be one of the low points of Stallone's film career, and as the quote above demonstrates is a source of Old Shame for him.
This film provides examples of:
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Played to a "T", embarrassing old photos and everything.
- Artistic License Gun Safety:
- Tutti washes Joe's gun like it's a dish, ruining it, and playfully wakes him up by pointing it at him.
- Joe himself is almost just as bad, leaving his gun belt in his laundry instead of locking it up, especially when is overbearing mother is visiting.
- Berserk Button: Threaten Joe's mother, and you'll be lucky if getting your head shoved down a toilet's the worst thing that happens to you.
- Cringe Comedy: Plenty of it, considering the direction they choose to take the plot in. For example, there's one particularly cringeworthy line comes from a flight attendant who had just seen Tutti's album of Joe as an infant.Flight Attendant: You know you looked real sexy in those diapers.
- Imagine Spot: Joe imagining his mother come after him with a huge pack of diapers and an oversized bottle of talcum powder.
- Insurance Fraud: Turns out that the weapons were part of a shipment that was allegedly destroyed by a fire — the Big Bad's idea was to report them as lost, pocket the insurance money, and get more by selling them on the black market. He didn't expected a couple of idiots to take a few and sell them out the back of their van, though.
- Karma Houdini: Tutti doesn't get arrested for buying an illegal fire arm, withholding information of a shooting, and repeatedly intruding on a police investigation.
- Lucky Translation: The Latin American Spanish title of the movie managed to get a very lucky pun on the title of the movie: ¡Para, o mi mamá dispara!. On the other hand, the European Spanish one translated the title as ¡Alto! O mi madre dispara (Stop! Or my Mother Will Shoot) which uses a more polite version of the same phrase.
- My Beloved Smother: The whole plot is Joe getting increasingly exasperated about his mother trying to control his life and "help" him by putting him in trouble with the review board (he already had some because of being a Cowboy Cop, but Tutti's meddling makes things worse).
- Never Mess with Granny: Tutti shoots a handgun twice during the film. The first time (which provides the Title Drop threat) she can't hit anything. The second time she goes full Dirty Harry Mama Bear during a Hostage Situation.
- Obstructive Vigilantism: The titular mom is not telling all the details so that her son can investigate.
- Reckless Gun Usage: After an evening of horribly misguided attempted gun maintenance, Tutti wakes up her son by pointing the gun at his face and saying "Go ahead...make your bed."
- Rage Breaking Point: Joe was already angry because of his mother ridiculing him, hardships with the case (some brought out because of said mother), and so on... and then the jerkass Internal Affairs officer that holds a grudge on Joe snarks that Tutti deserves to go to jail. Joe smashes his nose in without hesitation.
- Talking Down the Suicidal: Tutti manages to do this early on in the film, much to Joe's chagrin, when she comes to the scene a of suicide jumper who wishes to speak with his mother.
- Title Drop: Stallone says "Stop! Or my mom will shoot!" during a shootout at a warehouse.