MOTHER’S DAY (USA/12A/118mins)
Directed by Garry Marshall. Starring Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Sarah Chalke, Jason Sudeikis.
THE PLOT: On the run up to Mother’s Day – that’s Mother’s Day in the US, by the way – a single mother struggles with her ex’s new wife’s desire to be part of her sons’ lives, a widower comes to terms with his wife’s death and two sisters finally open up to their parents about the people that they love.Read more…
THE VERDICT: Another year, another themed movie from Garry Marshall. Like ‘Valentine’s Day’ and ‘New Year’s Eve’, ‘Mother’s Day’ is an ensemble story that brings the disparate parts together through connections between characters, and one again, is a thin film that tries hard to be sentimental and comes off feeling trite.
The cast consists of Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Kate Hudson, Sarah Chalke, Julia Roberts and Timothy Olyphant, and although each actor has their strengths, none of these are evident in this film. The performances are wooden and one dimensional, with these people feeling more like they belong in a commercial than a rounded film since we never truly get to know nay of them and thus, are never truly able to root for or relate to them. Jennifer Garner perhaps gets the rawest deal of all, only appearing in home video.
Anya Kochoff, Matthew Walker and Tom Hines’ screenplay not only over sentimentalises Mother’s Day – who gets so torn up over such a generic, greeting card day!? – but makes sure that the characters include a mixed race couple and a gay couple who have to lie about the people they love, a jealous single mother who is made out to be crazy even though her fears and anger feel justified as a younger wife appears to steal her kids’ affections, and a widower whose daughters are trying to drag him back to happiness while appearing rather dispassionate about their mother’s death. There are merits to each one of these stories, but throwing them together in a big melting pot of mush and sentimentality undermines all of them to such a point that they feel like they belong on the greeting cards the film is so obviously inspired by.
Director Garry Marshall doesn’t even seem to try to make these characters feel real or relatable – although Jennifer Aniston does her damnedest – and although many of them have worked together in the past, there is very little chemistry between the actors. Add to this some clunky and jumpy editing and characters that change their mind seemingly at random, and ‘Mother’s Day’ is a messy, overly sentimental film that is almost painful to watch.
In all, ‘Mother’s Day’ doesn’t even try to be sincere; instead it is a film that feels like scenes from better films cut out and stitched together, with the characters thin and one dimensional, not chemistry between the cast and the problems they face easily resolved by a pep talk or a quick frolic with a small child in a palatial back garden. Mushy, trite nonsense.
Review by Brogen Hayes

Mother's Day
Review by Brogen Hayes
1.0Mushy, trite nonsense
  • filmbuff2011

    Run for the hills! A strong contender for the worst film of the year has arrived in the ungainly form of Mother’s Day. It does exactly what it says on the tin, before bashing you repeatedly on the head with it in desperation.

    An ensemble piece, it features a cast of characters in the days leading up to Mother’s Day, which in this reviewer’s mind is nothing but a Hallmark holiday. Anyway, Sandy (Jennifer Aniston), she who has two sons (yes we know), is struggling with the fact that her dishy ex-husband Henry (Timothy Olyphant) has re-married, to a much younger woman who is too close to her sons. Jesse (Kate Hudson) is trying to keep her nagging parents at bay. Young mother Kristin (Britt Robertson) is trying to re-connect with her long-lost mother Miranda (Julia Roberts), who presents a vacuous shopping channel show. Finally, Bradley (Jason Sudeikis) is trying to fill in the gap left in his teenage daughter’s life by the death of her mother (a blink and you’ll miss her Jennifer Garner). All these characters will come together to celebrate and honour their mothers on this supposedly special day, even if it results in general chaos and befuddlement…

    The most obvious culprit for Mother’s Day is director Garry Marshall, who completes a hat-trick of holiday-themed films following the equally bad Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve. What next? President’s Day? How the mighty have fallen… Given that Marshall directed Pretty Woman and Frankie And Johnny, the 1990s seem like a long time ago now. Instead, Marshall has to work with a script that he co-wrote with four (count ’em) other writers. The script might as well have been written by schoolchildren – they would have done a better job at projecting maturity. Sample juvenile incident: Sandy gets her hand stuck in a vending machine, allowing for some incidental flirting with Bradley. That’s just incredibly lazy scriptwriting, the kind of stuff that wouldn’t even pass muster for a TV movie. Another example is Jesse’s father trying to control his out-of-control RV while everyone else is acting like the world is about to end. D’oh!

    It’s excruciating to watch all these fine actors make complete idiots of themselves. Aniston and Roberts deserve so much better than their one-note characters (what possessed them to take these parts in the first place?). Sudeikis, having impressed greatly last week in Race, is back in the bad books with a terrible performance that does no favours for him. Olyphant, who should know better, has to work with lazy Justified in-jokes being flung at him. It’s car-crash moviegoing, with an over-excited plot that is soaked in saccharine and extremely low in intelligence. It’s the kind of movie that makes you want to reach for the sick bag, with not one decent laugh to its name. And this goes on for 2 hours… It should be half an hour shorter at least. Or maybe it should never have been made at all. With a whopping 8 other films opening this weekend, you can do so much better than the execrable Mother’s Day. It’s Hollywood garbage of the lowest order. Watch it at your peril. *