Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and Julia Roberts
Directed By: Garry Marshall
Running Time: 118 minutes
Open Road Films
Our Score: 1.5 out of 5 Stars
I typed out, “Are ensemble holiday-related movies doomed to be forever bad?” and realized that I answered my own question with the phrasing, ensemble holiday-related movies. Every time I watch them, I feel like I’m watching sitcom leftovers. So it only makes sense that Garry Marshall, who’s worked on dozens of sitcoms, would make “Mother’s Day”, a sappy, cornball movie. Of course this isn’t Marshall’s first rodeo, but I certainly hope it’s his last.
Like most of these movies, there are too many characters to go over, but they all have one thing in common, they’re dealing with some matriarchal problem. Sandy (Aniston) has to cope with her boys becoming attached to her ex-husband’s new squeeze. Jesse (Hudson) is dealing with avoiding telling her mom that she married an Indian man. Jesse’s sister, Gabi (Sarah Chalke) has the same problem, but instead it’s her inability to show off her life partner. The 81-year-old director surely must have thought a lesbian couple and a white woman marrying someone of a different race was groundbreaking material.
Then there’s Bradley (Jason Sudeikis), who’s dealing with the year anniversary of the loss of his wife. There’s also Kristin (Britt Robertson) who can’t handle that her boyfriend, and the father to her child, is proposing to her. Then Julia Roberts is kind of just floating around in the background as the “popular” HSN host. There are a lot more characters and a lot more actors looking for a paycheck that I’m sure I’m neglecting. Some of them connect and some of them don’t and live in their own personal bubble hell without having to bring anyone else into it.
The only thing this movie is missing is canned laughter or the gratuitous audience applause after someone stands up for themselves. The conflicts are forced, outdated, and their resolutions are equally as audacious to reality. I’ll go ahead and gloss over the fact that there’s obnoxious product placement. I mean, how many eight and 10-year-old siblings are going to get excited about going to IHOP? And don’t forget that any beverage must be drunk, has the label on the outside so that the camera can read it.
At times I did find it sentimental, oddly enough. Maybe it’s because I set my brain to cruise control or because there is a universal feeling that moms do go underappreciated. “Mother’s Day” does kind of touch on that, but it could be by accident. As for all you hard working moms in the world out there, you do deserve a movie that loves and supports you, but “Mother’s Day” is not that movie. Let’s spend Mother’s Day with our mom and stop attending these recycled holiday movies.