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‘Motherland’ Review: Sharon Horgan’s Sundance Now Cringe Comedy Is an Accurate But Taxing Glimpse at Motherhood

‘Motherland’ Review: Sharon Horgan’s Sundance Now Cringe Comedy Is an Accurate But Taxing Glimpse at Motherhood

Cringe comedy isn’t for everyone, but the best forms of it — “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “The Comeback,” “Peep Show” — find a way to make the awkward situations their characters go through feel necessary. It helps make that discomfort relatable and cathartic for the audience.

The Sundance Now acquisition “Motherland” has the perfect set-up: What’s more socially awkward than the passive aggressive, gossip-filled, and cliquey world of parenting? Though creators Sharon Horgan (“Catastrophe”), Graham Linehan (“The It Crowd”), Helen Linehan, and Holly Walsh (“Dead Boss”) build this chaotic existence well, they also shoot themselves in the foot by making their main characters self-destructive instead of self-sustaining. They don’t survive the madness so much as they consciously perpetuate it and then complain about the problems they’ve created.

Following one working mom who’s trying to balance her professional and familial responsibilities, “Motherland” begins on a particularly panicked day when

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