Movie: Mother’s Day
Reel Rating: 3 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language and some suggestive material
Released in Theaters: April 29, 2016
Best for Ages: 13+
Runtime: 118 minutes
Directed by: Garry Marshall
Studio: Open Road Films
Cast: Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis
MOVIE SYNOPSIS: This movie follows several Atlanta-based characters who cross paths during the week leading up to Mother’s Day.
MOTHER’S DAY – MOVIE REVIEW
There’s something wonderful about movie traditions. Garry Marshall, now 82, has directed several of these ensemble comedies in recent years, including 2010’s “Valentine’s Day” and 2011’s “New Year’s Eve.” And of course, as with all his movies, Hector Elizondo has a role in all of them, which I think is so fun.
“Mother’s Day” follows several Atlanta-based characters who cross paths during the week leading up to Mother’s Day. Jennifer Aniston plays Sandy, a mom of two boys who’s friendly with her ex, Henry (Justified’s Timothy Olyphant). So much so that when he says he has something to tell her, she thinks he might want to get back together.
Turns out he’s eloped with the much younger Tina (Pretty Little Liars’ Shay Mitchell). There’s a running joke about Aniston’s aging body compared to Mitchell’s younger body, and all I could think was, really? Women of any age would be happy to have Aniston’s yoga-toned body!
Then there’s Jesse (Kate Hudson), who lives next door to her sister Gabi (Sarah Chalke). When their parents show up unexpectedly, the sisters have to deal with their bigoted mom (Margo Martindale) who is aghast when she learns that one daughter is a lesbian and the other is married to an Indian man.
Meanwhile, Kristin (Britt Robertson) is a young mom who can’t quite bring herself to marry her baby’s dad, because of her own abandonment issues over not knowing her biological mother.
Bradley (Jason Sudeikis) is a widower raising two girls, while still grieving the loss of his wife. And Miranda (Julia Roberts) is a successful jewelry entrepreneur who spends her days hawking her stuff on a shopping channel.
On the surface, “Mother’s Day” seems to have everything going for it. Veteran director, all-star cast, poignant and comical stories, and a familiar storytelling style. But the movie just never seems to click. The characters are stereotypical, and the writing is awkward, predictable, and just not that funny.
That’s not to say there aren’t some bright spots. Like seeing Julia Roberts and Hector Elizondo onscreen together again (and give us a fun little reference to “Pretty Woman,” the 1990 crowd favorite in which they both starred).
It’s also fun to see Sudeikis and Aniston share screen time again (they co-starred in the very funny 2013 comedy “We’re the Millers”).
But it says something about a movie when the best part is the bloopers that run during the end credits. Can we just have two hours worth of bloopers instead? You can probably skip “Mother’s Day” and watch it when it hits cable or Netflix.
PARENT OVERVIEW: Infrequent strong language includes “s–t,” “a–hole,” and one “f–king.” Racial stereotypes include insensitive comments about Indian characters (“towelhead” and “darker than a Frapuccino”). No sex scenes, but there are a few marital kisses and a scantily clad character.
PARENT DETAILS (May Contain Spoilers):
Violence/Gore: A dad falls and breaks his leg. A boy panics during an asthma attack.
Sex/Nudity: A woman wears revealing clothes, and married couples kiss. A few jokes about how long it’s been since characters have had sex. A running thread includes comparisons to a young woman’s body and an older woman’s body.
Profanity: A few uses of “s–t,” “damn,” and “a–hole,” plus one “f–king.” A white couple uses the racial slur “towelhead” and jokes about how dark a half-white, half-Indian child’s skin is. A character mentions that she wasn’t allowed to date anyone whose skin was “darker than a Frapuccino.”
Drugs/Alcohol: Adults drink beer and wine.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM:
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Jane Boursaw is the film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Contact her at email@example.com. Images in this review used courtesy of the studio and distributor.