HOLLYWOOD—Doing an ensemble movie is no easy task. Why? It requires a bit of magic to juggle big time stars and intersecting storylines. Director Garry Marshall, the man behind such hits like “Pretty Woman” and “Runaway Bride” is hoping magic strikes again with his dramedy “Mother’s Day.” Hmm, hope is a four-letter word that doesn’t always deliver.
“Mother’s Day” falls into that unfortunate realm of Marshall’s previous outings “Valentine’s Day” and “New Year’s Eve.” Too much going on with way TOO MANY characters to fit all into one film! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, having big time movie stars or in this case tons of stars in one film does not guarantee box-office success. This comedy, which has tinkles of drama sprinkled into it stars Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and Jason Sudeikis. It revolves around the ever popular theme of celebrating moms just in time for the big day.
The movie does its best to intersect multiple storylines in an intertwining way that doesn’t quite mesh as well as a spectator would hope. Sandy Newhouse (Aniston) is recently divorced and doing her best to co-parent with her ex Henry (Timothy Olyphant) and his younger more hip wife Tina (Shay Mitchell). It creates quite a bit of friction in the parenting arena because Sandy has her rules for the kids that don’t always mesh well with Henry’s tactics. To make things worse, Sandy feels her kids slipping from her grip because of the relationship they’re beginning to build with Tina who understands the evolution of technology which gives her an instant connection with the children.
We have Jesse (Hudson), who rarely sees her mother Flo (Margo Martindale) and her father Earl (Robert Pine). So when they surprisingly show up to pay their daughter a visit, it throws her off guard, especially because she is married to an Indian, and her parents are racist to say the least. It’s probably the most uncomfortable thing to watch in the flick and to see the writers and director attempt to do their best to tip-toe around the issue just makes you squirm in the theater seat that much more. What’s worse, it’s not even funny.
There is Miranda (Roberts) who doesn’t have as hefty a role as potential viewers expect from the trailers and TV spots. She is an accomplished writer working on her book tour when she gets the shock of her life when Kristin (Britt Robertson), the daughter she gave up for adoption pays her a visit. In the midst of all this female estrogen, the writers attempt to connect with the male audience with Bradley Barton (Sudeikis) whose wife has recently passed, and he is forced to cope with raising his kids while trying to honor their mother on this universal holiday.
These storylines are just a few of the things that attempt to push the narrative for this flick. There is a host of other characters who come and go; it almost felt as if “Mother’s Day” was a flick that was like making a dish by throwing a bunch of ingredients into a pot and hoping things work. Unfortunately, “Mother’s Day” attempts to do that but it doesn’t work. The movie drags, there isn’t much excitement and unfortunately a bevy of very talented actresses and actors are not able to fully showcase their talents because of a lackluster script.
Mother’s Day may indeed be long over, but if you’re planning to see a movie to tug at your heart or make you a bit more thankful for your mother or mothers, “Mother’s Day” is one you should indeed miss.