Mother’s Day Parent Review
In what appears to be an effort to be politically correct, the script features one of every conceivable motherhood scenario.
Garry Marshall is the king of sentimental cinema. His directing talents are behind such movies as Runaway Bride, Pretty Woman (both staring Julia Roberts) and Raising Helen (staring Kate Hudson). Lately he has tried his hand at ensemble casts celebrating holidays (Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve). Mother’s Day follows this formula.
In what appears to be an effort to be politically correct, the script features one of every conceivable motherhood scenario. We see married, divorced and unwed mothers, birth, adoptive, and step mothers, gay and straight mothers, a racial minority mother, a bigoted mother, and even a deceased mother. For good measure a career woman and a single dad are also included.
Of course with this many characters there really isn’t time to deeply develop any of of them, so only a few storylines are superficially followed.
Jennifer Aniston takes the lead as a divorced woman who gets along fairly well with her ex (Timothy Olyphant) – until he announces that he has married his twenty-something girlfriend (Shay Mitchell). Beside feeling some twinges of jealousy, she is having a real challenge trying to share her two boys (Brandon Spink and Caleb Brown) with a barely clad female who wants to be called Mom even though she is closer in age to the kids than she is to her new husband.
Kate Hudson and Sarah Chalke play sisters who have decided lying to their red-neck mother is easier than confessing that one of them has married a man of color (Aasif Mandvi), and the other has a homosexual partner (Cameron Esposito). But their secrets are all revealed when their parents (Margo Martindale and Robert Pine) travel all the way from Texas to Atlanta to surprise their distant daughters with a face-to-face visit.
And Britt Robertson is an unwed mom whose issues of abandonment that stem from being adopted make her too fearful to marry the father of her child (Jack Whitehall).
Meanwhile Jason Sudeikis attempts (with varying degrees of success) to be a mother to his girls (Jessi Case and Ella Anderson) after his wife is killed in military service. And Julia Roberts sparkles as a shopping channel hawker, pretending she has no regrets about pursuing a professional career rather than parenthood.
In between sexual banter and innuendo, a sprinkling of profanities and an extreme sexual expletive, as well as a lot of beer swigging, the plot focuses on these women, who happen to have children, struggling with their personal problems. And that is the production’s fatal flaw. Because the relationship these women have with their children is never really explored, it misses the mark of what it means to be a mom.
Like trying to make a bouquet out of a diversity of flowers, putting all these storylines into one vase doesn’t automatically turn it into a particularly beautiful arrangement—nor does the movie come off smelling as sweet as hoped for.Directed by Garry Marshall. Starring Kate Hudson, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Julia Roberts . Running time: 118 minutes. Theatrical release April 29, 2016. Updated August 4, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Mother’s Day here.
Mother’s Day Parents Guide
This movie depicts several different family scenarios, in a light-hearted manner. For instance, we have a husband dealing with the loss of his wife while trying to care for his two daughters. And we have a divorced mother dealing with the re-marriage of her husband, with the associated jealousy and joint custody issues. How realistically does the script address the emotional struggles related to these situations? Whose perspective is shown? Does choosing a comedic approach to these portrayals justly deal with the deeper feelings associated with such life challenges?
One of the characters in the film refuses to marry her boyfriend – even though they have a child together – because of deep rooted fears of abandonment. How might being unwilling to make a commitment actually increase the chances of having the relationship fail? How does her experience as an adopted child increase her worries?