Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

If you’ve ever wondered what happens after Sex And The City, Motherhood is probably it. Just replace the Blahniks with babies, both underfoot in their different ways, and you’ll be in the right territory for this comedy/drama – the first of which terms can only be very loosely applied.

It must have looked good on paper for Uma Thurman, who is barely off the screen for the film’s entire runtime - but though she proves, yet again, a mistress of her craft, you can’t make a classic out of Alphabetti Spaghetti.

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She is harried mum-of-two Eliza, whom we meet as she frantically attempts to prepare for her daughter’s sixth birthday party. At the same time, she is, somewhat unbelievably, attempting to write a winning entry for a ‘mummy’s blog’ prize, that must be submitted at midnight on the same day. Her best pal Sheila (Minnie Driver) is on hand to lend a sympathetic ear and snarky Sex And The City boudoir asides, but her husband (Anthony Edwards), though lovely enough, seems to be inhabiting an entirely different planet when it comes to childcare issues.

This is ‘day from hell’ territory, but none of the comedy rises to the occasion. Part of the problem is that Eliza is pretty hard to sympathise with. Yes, she’s living in a fourth-floor walk up, but it is in a rent-controlled part of New York’s Greenwich Village, so, really, how bad can it be? And, oh, the privations of having to move your car on bin day or scoop your dog’s poop. Yes, it’s pretty tricky to carry lots of gifts on a pushbike – but again, this is hardly the stuff of side-splitting comedy. Even her hubby, though not especially attentive, doesn’t seem bad enough to generate the frustrations she vents. The blog subplot also lacks both weight and believability – watching people’s creative writing process hardly ever makes for dynamic cinema.

There are glimmers of what might have been. One scene, in particular, which sees Eliza enjoy a brief, mildy flirtatious encounter with a much younger man, has an energy and naturalism that, if employed by writer/director Katherine Dieckman elsewhere, might have resulted in an entirely different, much better film. But it is a mere flash in the pan of wholesome cliché. Were it not for the presence of the ‘big name’ stars, this would have straight-to-Hallmark-Channel written all over it.

Reviewed on: 16 Feb 2010
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A harrassed mum tries to prepare for her daughter's birthday.
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Director: Katherine Dieckmann

Writer: Katherine Dieckmann

Starring: Uma Thurman, Minnie Driver, Anthony Edwards, Vincent James Russo, Samantha Bee, Stephanie Szostak, Daisy Tahan, Maya Ri Sanchez, Jenny Kirlin, Javier Picayo

Year: 2009

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


Sundance 2009

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