Mother’s Day – Movie Review
Rating: D (Very Bad)
Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Elevation Pictures
Watching Mother’s Day, one starts to wonder what has happened to the romantic comedy. Once the domain of smartly written screenplays and genuine meet-cutes, the genre has unfortunately been overtaken by these schmaltz-fests that mostly seek to put as many attractive people on screen as possible. Under Garry Marshall’s direction, Mother’s Day tries desperately to divide time between its ensemble cast and yet an actual story is never produced. Even with mostly decent performances, this is a lengthy endurance test featuring a world that doesn’t exist in any realm of reality. It’s like a massive cinematic universe crammed into one film, which will hopefully be the last we see of these characters.
The main goal of Mother’s Day is to mix its average sitcom-level jokes with obvious attempts at tear-jerking. There is not a single real moment in the entire film and nobody reacts the way any normal human being would. The most embarrassing of the bunch is Jennifer Aniston’s Sandy, coping with her ex-husband getting involved with a younger woman. The expected jokes directed at her age come about as does the predictable jealousy angle. All through her scenes, Aniston overacts to a non-existent studio audience. A storyline involving the bigoted parents of Kate Hudson and Sarah Chalke could have commented on the changing cultural attitudes of the twenty-first century, but instead goes down a road that would never happen in a million years. Guess Whose Coming to Dinner, this screenplay is not.
Jason Sudeikis is likeable by his sheer presence, but the attempts at emotion are choreographed a mile away and also results in a waste of a cameo from Jennifer Garner. Hopefully she was paid handsomely by the filmmakers using up her time better spent shooting a commercial or public service announcement. One of the few bright spots of Mother’s Day comes courtesy of Britt Robertson. Her character is flatly written, like everyone else, but she brings some level of spark and produces the few smiles during this film. After her wonderful break-out role in last year’s Tomorrowland, she deserves better than this.
The script tries hard to connect all of these characters, but the result is a convoluted mess. There is little reason for these people to know each other, unless the city of Atlanta has shrunk in size. Throughout it all is an irritating performance from Julia Roberts as a Home Shopping Channel entrepreneur. Fashioned with a ridiculous wig, the entire performance is artificial with the only genuine moments coming from the end credit bloopers (this also provides the only funny part). On hand is Hector Elizondo to spew some advice that only exists to propel Roberts’s character forward rather than anything meaningful that will stay with the audience.
Mother’s Day is a two hour Hallmark card read slowly and forcing you to stay with people you can’t stand with no exit in sight. Even with Britt Robertson available to brighten things up, there is little to smile at. This is a completely artificial creation that has the calorie count and intelligence level of a Property Brothers episode and will probably play non-stop after that show’s reruns in a couple of years. With this film, Garry Marshall has unfortunately given an excuse for women’s channels to play it every Mother’s Day. Frankly, the women who brought us into the world deserve far better.