Mother's Day - This Mother Of A Movie Does Not Rock
Dir: Garry Marshall
Starring Julia Roberts, Jennifer Anniston, Kate Hudson, Timothy Olyphant, Hector Elizondo, Jason Sudeikis, Jack Whitehall, Margo Martindale, Shay Mitchell
We here at lastword find it very difficult to dislike Garry Marshall. After all, he is the man who gave the world Mork & Mindy. And Happy Days before that. And the original TV Odd Couple before that. And Julia Roberts after all of that, courtesy of Pretty Woman.
But his all-star holiday-themed cycle is becoming a little bit trying. Is Mother’s Day a worse film that New Year’s Eve? Hard to tell really. They’re both so anodyne that your mind just start to slip away after awhile. Safe to say, Mother’s Day could really have been both written and made anytime in the last, say, 60 years, and all you would have to change are the cast of the day and just one or two pop culture references. It is, in its own way, made for the rainiest of Bank Holiday afternoons, back when there were only three channels and phones, tablets, social media – hell the earliest days of dial up – just weren’t an option. Under those circumstances, this might have seemed good. But we don’t live under those circumstances.
As with the prior New Year’s and Valentine’s we have a bunch of “characters” – we’d like to say from all walks of life. But to be honest, if any one of these over privileged white folk just once agave evidence of having a job to go with those lovely expansive homes, it would at least be a nod towards the real world. But, hey, they have their own problems too – which manage to bring in crass moments of faux patriotism (there’s a dead soldier mom), crass moments of racial understanding – southern old granny embraces her Indian counterpart. And there’s a lesbian couple – but they kind of let that one slide. Oh, and Justin Sudeikis raps to the point where he falls off the roof and you – genuinely – hope he’s died, for his sake as much as ours.
And then Jack Whitehall, not a bad British stand up in reality, does a turn as a very bad British stand up in this mother of a movie world. (And no, he’s not supposed to be bad.) By the time we all get to that old chestnut of the arm trapped in the vending machine meet-cute (ever seen that before?) – really, do you have to ask??
There’s a really good cast here – Olyphant always exudes charm, Martindale is on her way to being a permanent MVP, Anniston can play any funny scene, hell, Roberts can play ANY scene – and they and more really do try here. But ultimately, it’s a huge waste – of their time, ours, and, potentially, yours.
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