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MOTHER'S DAY

SYNOPSIS: Intersecting stories with different moms collide on Mother's Day.

Review by Louise Keller:
Syrupy, manipulative and predictable, Mother's Day smacks of every commercial contrivance with its meshing stories about every kind of mother found in Forrest Gump's box of chocolates. It's a pity to see an excellent cast wasted on such mush. Like his 2010 film Valentine's Day, director Gary Marshall has interwoven a selection of stories to epitomise the film's title - but not as successfully. Here, mothers are put under the spotlight: single, divorced, step, estranged, gay and excluded. Marshall has recruited his favourite Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts as the key draw card, along with everybody's sweethearts Jennifer Aniston and Kate Hudson.

The film begins with a gigantic plastic womb on wheels, complete with purple umbilical cord -ready for the Mother's Day Parade that never comes. (What was all that about?) We are quickly introduced to all the key characters, including Jennifer Aniston's Sandy, a gym junkie with a close relationship to her ex (Timothy Olyphant) and an even closer relationship with their two young boys. Aniston is always good value and we empathise as she deals with the emotional ups and downs of coping with her children's new step mother Tina (Shay Mitchell) - the trophy wife with short skirts and long legs. It's not hard to work out that Jason Sudeikis's Bradley, the widower with two young daughters, might be a contender for her affections. Contrived awkward situations provide the basis of their burgeoning relationship.

There are secrets of course, which are revealed at various times, although you don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to spot them. The story strand involving Kate Hudson's Jesse, her sister (Sarah Chalke) and their estranged Texan parents who scoot around the country in a RV is pretty stupid, culminating in a ridiculous scene in which Jesse's husband (Aasif Mandvi) falls on the pavement wearing a woman's robe. Pink, of course. No cigar for the screenwriter who thought up the idea of the single mother (Britt Robertson, charming) not wanting to commit to her English comedian boyfriend (Jack Whitehall, excellent).

But then there is Julia Roberts with the million-dollar smile and long shapely legs, who plays the successful career woman flogging mood pendants on a TV shopping channel. Hector Elizondo will always be remembered for his role in Pretty Woman, and here as Miranda's agent and friend, his presence is as comfortable as a pair of old slippers.

The film is as plastic as they come and although the sentiments expressed about mothers and the unconditional love they offer their children are well intentioned, they feel as sweet as the maple syrup poured on pancakes, which is how everything ends - flat.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

MOTHER'S DAY (M)
(US, 2016)

CAST: Britt Robertson, Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Timothy Oliphant, Kate Hudson, Jason Sudeikis, Brandon Spink, Sarah Chalke, Shay Mitchell, Jon Lovitz

PRODUCER: Brandt Andersen, Howard Burd, Daniel Diamond, Mark DiSalle, Mike Karz, Wayne Allen Rice

DIRECTOR: Garry Marshall

SCRIPT: Tom Hines, Lily Hollander, Anya Kochoff, Matthew Walker

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Charles Minsky

EDITOR: Bruce Green, Robert malina

MUSIC: John Debney

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Missy Stewart

RUNNING TIME: 118 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: StudioCanal

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 28, 2016







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