By: BabyRuth (Five Beers) –
I’d like to begin this review with an important message from Mr. T:
Did you get that? He said to treat your mother right.
Taking your mother to the latest Garry Marshall-directed holiday-themed bloated disaster of A-list actors phoning (or in Jennifer Garner’s case, videotaping) it in, slapping it together, and calling it a movie is most certainly not treating your mother right and I pity the fool who ignores this advice.
It hurts to devote brainpower to this, but let’s just get it out of the way.
It’s Mother’s Day season in Atlanta! Yes, season. You didn’t know? Everyone in town is abuzz discussing their plans for the big day which includes a parade! Yes, a Mother’s Day parade. We have to take the movie’s word that such a thing exists since we never actually see the parade and it’s really just a setup for a visual gag of a uterus-shaped float and a penis joke.
Not the aforementioned penis joke
But no matter about that parade, we’re here for slumming movie stars, right? While this installment features a much smaller ensemble than the previous Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, we do get Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Jason Sudeikis, Timothy Olyphant, and Julia Roberts, who clearly signed some kind of lifetime-contract with Marshall after her breakout role in Pretty Woman. Jon Lovitz shows up, too (possibly hinting at a future Garry Marshall-Happy Madison collaboration to kill us once and for all).
Aniston is Sandy, a divorced mother of two who owns an interior design business. Her ex-husband’s (Olyphant) announcement that he’s recently gotten remarried to a beautiful twenty-something (Shay Mitchell) turns Sandy into a raging lunatic. Sandy’s BFF and fitness enthusiast (Buy Fabletics!) Jesse (Kate Hudson) is a mom too, but she’s been hiding that along with her marriage to a doctor who happens to be Indian from her racist parents (Margo Martindale and Robert Pine in thankless roles). Jesse’s sister Gabi (Sarah Chalke) one-upped her and married A WOMAN (Cameron Esposito) so of course, like Jesse, she’s keeping that a secret from their awful parents as well. I wonder if they’ll find out! Cue the banjos! Here comes their RV rolling into town!
Then we have Bradley (Jason Sudeikis: Watch as his soul is sucked out of his body with each passing moment before your very eyes!), who lost his wife (Garner) a year earlier and is struggling to raise his two daughters, one of whom is a teenager so that means Bradley has to also deal with boys and –shudder– tampons. OMG, like, so embarrassing! I sure hope there isn’t a price check on those! Because a grown man would never have learned about menstruation or purchased feminine products for his wife ever.
Young parents Kristin (Britt Robertson) and Zack (Jack Whitehall) have been together for five years but though Kristin bore his child, she is reluctant to accept any of Zack’s multiple marriage proposals because she has abandonment issues (she literally says “I have abandonment issues” at one point) having been given up for adoption as an infant and then losing the parents who raised her. Personally, I’d be more hesitant to marry Zack because his life goal is to become a successful stand-up comic and he’s not very good.
Julia Roberts plays Miranda, who is apparently one of the most famous women in the world for no reason other than that she designs tacky mood jewelry for a home shopping channel, which every television in Atlanta seems to be tuned to. She has a secret too and is linked to another character. Given the information I’ve provided so far, you can probably figure it out.
So there are the storylines, which took no less than five writers to come up with. As is par for the course, the plots will intersect, characters will interact, and there will be hijinks, pratfalls, and karaoke before everything is tied up with a big faux-sentimental bow.
Really, the poster has the bow on it.
Excuse me for a moment. In the spirit of Mother’s Day, I’m going to go make myself a giant mimosa to get me through writing the rest of this. Be right back…
Let’s give it up for sustainability! While many movie stars wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the same outfit twice, eco-friendly Julia Roberts recycles her Notting Hill wig (it’s true) for the character or Miranda.
This is fascinating to me for two reasons. #1: She’s held onto that wig for seventeen years and #2: thought “hey, I should wear this again!” I will forever now believe that Julia has a giant trunk filled with random props from all of her films: The Pretty Woman hooker outfit, a petrified piece of Mystic pizza, her bass from Satisfaction, Dermot Mulroney…
It’s actually quite fitting since she wore the wig in a fake movie-within-a-movie in Notting Hill and Mother’s Day feels like one of those fake movies-within-a-movie. Could this possibly be a sly, subtle commentary on how she feels about this film? I’m going with “hell, freakin yes.”
Still, she does her best with what she is given, and turns on the tears and flashes that smile when called for. The rest of the cast do the same, especially Aniston who wins the MVP award for her nervous breakdown in a parking lot scene. They try. They try so hard.
There are a few scattered laughs throughout, none particularly clever or well-earned, but it’s hard not to giggle at a kid wearing a lion costume backwards so the tail is positioned in the most inappropriate location. Yeah, that’s the type of humor this movie is filled with. The funniest moments are in the bloopers during the end credits, which, this could have been a genius film if all the ad-libs were kept in. Think about it, actors constantly breaking character to joke about the stupidity while filming a schmaltzy, predictable cash-grab turd. I’d see that in a minute.
If you’ve seen Valentine’s Day and/or New Year’s Eve, it’s needless to point out that this latest offering is a complete mess. Not one of the thinly-drawn characters would ever exist in real-life. None of the situations ever feel realistic (women are able to hide not only marriages, but children from their parents for years despite regular Skype sessions?). The manipulative attempts at heart-tugging moments feel more like heartburn.
Worst of all, the humor is tone deaf as hell. It’s uncomfortable enough sitting in a theater when Margo Martindale’s character makes a “towelhead” joke (*crickets*) only to be followed up by Aasif Mandvi (at whose character the insult was directed) doing an exaggerated Indian-stereotype voice a moment later (it’s okay to laugh because he’s making the joke, you see). If that’s not enough, there are also fat jokes, gay jokes, and little person jokes thrown in for good measure. Each and every one is dated and unfunny.
I mentioned earlier that one of the characters is an aspiring stand-up comic, so of course there are several scenes that take place in a comedy club. With the exception of Jon Lovitz’s dog, these were the most painful parts for me to watch due to the humorless material and the ridiculous amount of sitcomish piped-in roaring laughter and applause from the club’s audience. There are many ADR issues in this movie (clumsy doesn’t even begin to describe them), but they are by far most evident in these scenes. It reminded me of the Full House episode when Uncle Joey goes on Star Search and the audience just can’t stop guffawing and knee-slapping at his “hilarious” Popeye impression. Sure.
Two hours! This movie is two hours long.
I’m having trouble continuing to find words to explain just how much of a tedious, unnecessary, waste of time this movie is. So allow to me present an IMDB user review from someone who enjoyed Mother’s Day:
My favorite part is “mothers are naturally forgiving and look past everything done by their biological children,” you know, like marrying dark-skinned Indian male physicians. (But only biological children!)
Mother’s Day is the cinematic equivalent of taking your mom to Olive Garden: bland, crowded, culturally offensive, but with slightly more indigestion as a result. Don’t do that to your mother. She went through labor for you.
Garry Marshall has given us some great television and movies and from everything I’ve read about him, he seems like a lovely person, but somebody really needs to tell him to stop with these. It’s starting to feel like everyone involved in his movies is humoring him like ol’ Grandpa at Thanksgiving dinner. Oh God, there’s going to be a Thanksgiving movie, isn’t there?
Last Call: Do stick around for the blooper reel during the end credits for a few legitimate laughs. (Thank you, Julia Roberts)
Mother’s Day (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: at every line of exposition
Take a Drink: for every “Atlanta” mention
Take a Drink: whenever anyone wears workout clothing
Take a Drink: whenever you spot a Fiji water bottle
Take a Drink: every time someone says “Mother’s Day”
Take a Drink: Racism!
Take a Drink: Homophobia!
Take a Drink: every time Jennifer Aniston’s character says the word “clown” during the party scene
Do a Shot: for the obligatory and clunky Pretty Woman reference