iMordecai makes for hearty laughter


“iMordecai” comes to the M.V. Film Center on Wednesday, June 12. This Miami-based comedy is directed by Marvin Samel, who will attend a post-film discussion, as will executive producer Marty Nadler. Based on a true story, the film features three Oscar nominees: Judd Hirsch as Mordecai, Carol Kane as his wife Fela, and Sean Astin as their son Marvin.

The film opens in animation with a tale of how Mordecai was born in Poland at the start of World War II. Then the viewers meet in real life the senior-citizen version of Mordecai as he jackhammers the floor at his Miami apartment. His plan is to build a walk-in shower for his wife Fela. Mordecai’s son Marvin arrives on the scene to speak to his father and enters this construction mayhem. Marvin is trying to sell the cigar business his dad makes plenty of wisecracks about. Through their agitated interactions and the underlying father-son tension — and poor communication — the film sets up a series of one-liners of age, youth culture, and connections that propel the rest of the story.

The age, youth, and connection metaphor develops as Marvin wants to rid his father of his outdated flip phone and acquire a state-of-the-art iPhone. The two arrive at the iPhone store, where Mordecai meets and comically trashes store rep Jared (Nick Puga), misidentifying him as “Jerry Einstein.” Another young employee, Nina (Azia Dinea Hale) plays an important role in Mordecai becoming “iMordecai” — a hip, up-to-date iPhone user with the world at his fingertips.

Mordecai, who wants nothing to do with his newfangled phone, ends up taking it home anyway. His wife, the equally recalcitrant Fela, insists that he get rid of what she calls a brainwashing device. And the story develops through comic situations, as Mordecai keeps the new, “buttonless” iPhone, in spite of Fela’s insistence otherwise. 

Things unfold as Mordecai starts lessons on his new phone with pretty Nina. Along the way come plenty of Yiddish quips and cultural twists that reveal Mordecai’s Jewish heritage and jokingly open up a “hard of hearing” old man. Fela’s jealousy of Mordecai’s young tutor Nina, a doctor’s diagnosis of her dementia, a recommendation that she not be left alone all build a cross-cultural tension in a coming-of-age story that leads Mordecai to mutter, “Days like this I miss Siberia.”

Mordecai’s references to his memories of Jewish persecution during World War II develop the underlying history to reveal a personal and resonant cultural transformation in a funny, endearing, accessible story. Filmgoers will enjoy “iMordecai” for its comedy of family tensions, personal revelation, and Jewish cultural history. L’Chaim!


Information and tickets for “iMordecai” are available at