Oh Garry Marshall. Director of Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, and The Princess Diaries.
What happened man?
When did your life-affirming pieces of cinematic gold become garish, mashed-up, forced vignettes telling multiple stories with diluted sentiments? Credit to the director, he is 81 and is still producing movies but they aren’t amazingly good. Or good. They are bad, really. Terrible.
With the likes of Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve over-populating our screens with a tirade of stars, our faith in the romantic comedy director has all but fizzled out. His latest garb Mother’s Day, in cinemas this weekend, is just as thin and unaccomplished as the compilation movies he has directed beforehand.
Starring Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, Britt Robertson, and Jason Sudeikis, Mother’s Day revolves around different family units leading up to the day of mummy’s everywhere. Sandy is recently divorced and has to battle for popularity with her ex-husband’s younger wife Tina. Julia Roberts is not a mum, or so she thinks, and has chosen a career rather than a family. Kristin is a young mum who is shirking the responsibility of marriage to her boyfriend Zack because she never knew her real mother (you know where this is going.) Jesse hasn’t seen her mum for some time because they never agreed with her marriage to Russell – an Indian doctor. And Bradley is a single father – recently widowed – trying to fill the gap his wife left. And therefore hijinks ensue.
To sum up exactly how Mother’s Day is, there are several scenes set in a comedy show where Jack Whitehall is headlining. Not as Jack Whitehall, he actually plays Zack who is a stand-up comic, ready to make his fame and fortune. No. Really. As he is performing in a showcase, there are a bunch of jokes told in which the pearly mouthed population of the bar eat up. Except the jokes aren’t funny, the smiles are artificial, and there’s a goddamn laugh track making it seem as though they are roaring with hysterics.
And now you see why Mother’s Day is so awful. The film tries to masquerade its pitiless writing by forcing in plot after plot, practically forcing us to care about the characters which we don’t. The manipulation is brash and heavy-handed. There is never enough time to cover the emotions either. So a mother and daughter reunite for the first time ever but it’s literally three minutes sandwiched between a father rapping and a mother hosting a party with a llama. There’s a heavily racist mother but she is played for laughs and the exploration of a childhood groan with parental figures who says “quirky things.” You know – just fun racist stuff.
Surprisingly, the slapstick and the crass humour such as a baby peeing in a purse or Jason Sudeikis falling off a roof never work and the most you’ll get out of this film is three chuckles, perhaps one laugh out loud “OHNOSHEDIDN’T” moment. But I promise you, a lot of that is fuelled by pure awkwardness. There’s some great acting from Julia Roberts and Britt Robertson but they aren’t given the room to explore the only tender moment in the entire film. (On a note about that storyline: Can we just have one movie where a woman picks a career over a family out of choice? No like “I can’t have kids” or “I gave up my kids and couldn’t replace them.” Just one. We don’t all want people out of our vaginas.) The film never properly addresses folk who have no mum for many, many different reasons.
The movie is so thin and unaccomplished. It’s the cinematic equivalent of texting your mother on Mother’s Day: Unimaginative, thoughtless, and offensive.
MOTHER’S DAY IS OUT 10th JUNE