Get a grip on
Spanking the Monkey is a comedy with incest at its core. Mom and son have the hots for each other. It's kind of a running joke that they don't have anyone better to have sex with.
The movie is told from the perspective of Ray (Jeremy Davies). Ray is a college student forced by his dad to drop out of school (at a crucial time) to take care of his sickly mother. Meanwhile, dad is using his "business trips" as an excuse to fool around.
Spanking the Monkey is the tale of two neglected people. Ray has sex on the brain. To his credit, he does try to develop a "conventional" relationship with a flirtatious neighbor. However, when she turns out to be emotionally immature, Ray turns to mom for "comfort."
Or, perhaps Ray is seduced by mom (Alberta Watson). As the story unfolds, we learn that there has long been a secret sexual attraction between mother and son which mom never discouraged. Is Watson's character mentally disturbed? Has the neglect of her husband led to the most disturbing of all family dysfunctions?
If Spanking the Monkey doesn't sound like a comedy, it's because it has to be seen to be believed. It's not really as grim as I've presented. I think the movie is an honest approach that most people will identify with. I'm sure nearly everyone has been uncomfortably attracted to someone who was maybe a little too young, or a little too close to the gene pool (marrying cousins is legal in several states). And, of course, the danger associated with the attraction makes the relationship all the more scintillating.
Surely, Spanking the Monkey is a comedy for people with wide artistic tastes. It's provocative and funny. I admired the film's conclusion with a particular fondness for the use of the word "quagmire."