Mother's Day


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Mother's Day
"There is nothing remotely inviting, funny or admirable about it"

There was a time in the white picketed Fifties when the American dream was as clean and golden as Doris Day's hair and the boys on bikes throwing newspapers over clipped lawns onto bare brushed porches in the 'burbs on cool summer mornings looked as fresh and welcoming as toasted waffles with syrup and a glass of orange juice from Mom's new fruit squishing machine.

No longer. Time has changed. Lives have changed. Now the 'burbs are burgeoning with trim'n'taut, emotionally evacuated, needy rich, white, air-brained, gossip-guzzling ladies of semi-leisure who call their kids "you guys", especially their daughters, and say "love you" to anyone who moves.

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Mother's Day is a film that finally nails middle class America to the door marked EXIT. There is nothing remotely inviting, funny or admirable about it. Stars light up the screen like sparklers in the rain. What they call an ensemble picture means collective (mind-eroding) sub plots that cut from one to the other in the style of Love, Actually and other saccharine soaked gushers.

Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) has two boys and a charm schooled ex-husband (Timothy Olyphant) who has just married a girl half his age. When she throws a party the day before Mother's Day Parade it's the kind of extravagant faux Disney kiddie friendly funscape, including a petting zoo, that you might expect off Hollywood Drive.

Jesse (Kate Hudson) lives with her sister Gabi (Sarah Clarke) and assorted sprogs-you-don't-remember. They smile buckets and keep secrets from their parents who turn up in a mobile home and have a fit The Donald would be proud of when they discover that Jesse is married to a "towel head" (Indian doctor) and Gabi to a woman called Max. These socially diverse life choices in such a conventional society are never explored, nor explained.

Who shouts up the stairs, "Don't be late for soccer practice again"? Probably Bradley (Jason Sudeikis). He has two feisty daughters and runs the Workout Anytime gym (everyone goes to it) and mourns the death of his wife, killed in the line of duty in Iraqistan. His neighbors (female) keep suggesting sexy replacements which he declines because it's too soon and anyway it looks as if Sandy's moving up the love ladder by being stupidly normal.

And then (does this ever end?) there is Zack (Jack Whitehall), an open mic-ed stand up comedian who wants to marry his girlfriend who has issues, such as being adopted and who's-my-real-mom and cannot commit, despite having a baby girl whom everyone goo-goos over constantly.

The greatest let down in a seriously disappointing rom-com is Julia Roberts. Recently her acting has blossomed (Money Monster, August: Osage County). Here she plays a TV presenter on a shopping channel, a role anyone could have filled, and is too embarrassing for (polite) words.

Just when you think you can't take it any more a song comes up on the soundtrack ("Loving Can Hurt Sometimes") and you know you gotta get out. Now!

Reviewed on: 09 Jun 2016
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Families fall apart and hang together in a Mother's Day preamble.
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Director: Garry Marshall

Writer: Anya Kochoff, Matthew Walker, Tom Hines

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Sarah Clarke, Timothy Olyphant, Julia Roberts, Jack Whitehall, Britt Robertson, Shay Mitchell, Hector Elizondo, Margo Martindale, Robert Pine, Adreana Gonzalez

Year: 2016

Runtime: 118 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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