Review by: Erika Ashley
Across Atlanta several families prepare for the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday in a variety of ways. One mother, Sandy, is surprised to find out her ex-husband has remarried, very recently in fact, and she struggles with the idea of sharing her two sons with a young new step-mom on her specialist day. A father and widower, Bradley, gears up to face the first Mother’s Day without the mother of his two daughter’s and he too struggles with the complication the holiday brings. Sandy’s friend, Jesse, feels an inner conflict as the day approaches and another year passes with her mother and father out of the picture. Her lesbian sister, Gabi, seems to be just fine with leaving the relationship as it is because she will be celebrating with her wife and adopted son.
A television host and HSN spokesperson, Miranda, goes about her daily life pushing products and entertaining her endearing fans when this Mother’s Day brings a surprise from her past. A young couple, Kristin and Zach, go back and forth on the topic of marriage now that their daughter is born. However, Kristin continues to put off Zach’s proposal attempts because she has to come to terms with who she is as an individual first. Although each family deals with their own complications revolving around Mother’s Day they all intertwine in some way.
This film was mostly genuine and funny, but at times frustrating and overdrawn. The ensemble cast was full of seasoned romantic comedy actors including Kate Hudson and Julia Roberts, but the true stars of the film were Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis. The two were independently hilarious and when they came together on screen sparks flew. However, Sudeikis did seem to overact a bit during his grieving husband scenes which came across as him trying a little too hard and disingenuous. The acting from Julia Roberts and Kate Hudson fell flat and it was almost as if they were just going through the motions.
Experienced Director, Garry Marshall, pulled another multi-plot film just like his two previous films “Valentine’s Day” and “New Year’s Eve” that weave several characters jumping back and forth from one story to another. In this film each storyline relies on the other but two out of the four separate plots could have been standalone films. The story revolving around Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) and Bradley (Jason Sudeikis) and how they interacted would have been an adorable romantic comedy with its happy and sad moments but a “Happily Ever After” ending. The plot lines for Zach (Jack Whitehall) and Kristin (Britt Robertson) that intertwines with Miranda (Julia Roberts) and even the sub-plot between Jesse (Kate Hudson), her sister Gabi (Sarah Chalke) and their mother Flo (Margo Martindale) is subpar at best. They are both rather convoluted and not really all that funny. Garry Marshall has been known in his recent career to take on these multilayer epic rom-coms and even though they are jam packed with A & B-list actors this film was decent. Not good, not great, but passable.
On top of the constant multi-story whiplash that leaves viewers wanting more from one story or the other, some of the main characters are completely over the top stereotypes. Granted most of the cast is Caucasian aside from Jesse’s husband, Russell (Aasif Mandavi) and her mother-in-law Sonia (Anoush NeVart) there were several outright racist jokes and they were meant to be as such. The characters even pointed out the racist jokes but what was most shocking is those were the jokes that got the most laughs.
Outside of the hokey comedy another surprising element was the fact of this film being about mothers and there were many unattended children obviously not being watched after. For example, when the Jesse’s son and nephew were playing out in the front yard – ALONE and their grandmother Flo approaches the older of the two boys asks her to watch the baby so he can use the restroom and then he takes off. An ultimate stranger they had just met started to play with the baby, but it could have been literally anyone that comes up to these kids and their mothers were nowhere in sight. Even Kristin allows her baby to be in a bar multiple times as she works there but then she does little to actually care for her child as well. It’s kind of hilarious and also completely absurd at how awful these mothers are in a film about celebrating Mother’s Day!
Overall, is this film worth the hype and heavy hitting names on the posters? Probably not. Should you take your mom to see it in theaters on Mother’s Day? Sure. But, I would wait until it comes out on Redbox or On Demand and rent it. Instead spend the money and two hours doing something worthwhile with your mom.
Mother’s Day is rated PG-13 for language and some suggestive material and has a 118-minute runtime.
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