Mother’s Day (2016)

  • Time: 118 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama
  • Director: Garry Marshall
  • Cast: Britt Robertson, Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson


Follows the lives of different mothers on Mothers Day. Sandy (Aniston) is happily divorced, until she finds out her ex-husband eloped with a much younger woman. Now she must learn to deal with big changes in her life as her two boys now have a step-mom. Sisters Jesse (Hudson) and Gabi (Chalke) get an unexpected surprise from their mother, who is not happy to find out Gabi is a lesbian and Jesse is married to a man of color. Miranda (Roberts) doesn’t have any kids and is focusing on her career. Kristin (Robertson) is enjoying life as a new mother but is feeling pressure from her boyfriend to get married. Bradley (Sudeikis) is trying hard to be the best parent for his two girls since their mom passed away last year, however his idea of Mothers Day is pretending it doesn’t exist at all.


  • I love my mom more than anything else in the world. But come on, do we really a need two-hour movie about May’s most popular holiday? Director Garry Marshall sure thinks so. I mean, he has to complete his almighty trilogy of all things festive. With 2010’s Valentine’s Day, 2011’s New Year’s Eve, and now Mother’s Day (my latest review), Marshall has become the second-tier version of a mawkish Robert Altman. Lately, he has been juggling multiple story lines, huge casts, and lots of defunct coincidences. His films are clearly the equivalent of birthday cake. They are nutrition-free, they are full of sugary sweet moments, they are fluffy, and they are kinda confetti-like. Channeling his weird side at age 81, Garry Marshall has sort of lost touch. He hasn’t been as sharp as when he did Pretty Woman and/or Frankie and Johnny (and that was a long time ago). Regardless, his Mother’s Day is pretty much harmless if you can get past the sight of a womb parade float, Jason Sudeikis singing “The Humpty Dance” (to a bunch of pre-teen girls), and Jennifer Aniston walking around near some young tykes in nothing but a towel. Would I recommend taking your mother to see “Day”? It wouldn’t be a crime but you have been warned.

    Taking place in Atlanta, GA (what flick doesn’t take place in “Hotlanta” these days) and co-starring Marshall’s “lucky charm” of an actor (Hector Elizondo), “Day” feels like a Garry Marshall endeavor literally a couple minutes in. You can easily tell by the first musical score note and the compulsory opening credits. The story follows five to six different people as they iron out their relationship conflicts a couple days before the second Sunday in May. Sandy Newhouse (played by Jennifer Aniston) is a divorced mother of two. She shares custody of her two kids with Henry (Timothy Olyphant). Henry just got remarried to a twentysomething named Tiny (Shay Mitchell). Obviously, Sandy is a little miffed by the condition. Then there’s Jesse (Kate Hudson). She is married to a doctor (Russell played by Aasif Mandvi) but is reluctant to introduce him to her parents because they are a bit racially challenged. You also have restaurant worker Kristin (Tomorrowland’s Britt Robertson). She has a child and is unmarried. She holds back on tying the knot because she never knew who her real mother was (boo-hoo). Finally, we have Miranda Collins (Julia Roberts). She’s a successful writer and I guess, sells stuff on a fictional home shopping network. She has a daughter but gave her up for adoption years ago. I think you can guess how Kristin and Miranda’s dots will connect.

    Now everyone in Mother’s Day seems to conveniently run into each other. Aniston overacts, Sudeikis (as mentioned earlier) is manipulatively closed off, and Larry Miller (a Marshall regular) makes a thankless cameo. It’s almost fictitious the way the trouper’s paths cross. They are mercilessly connected by a ridiculous amount of kismet. In verity, I felt like I was watching an episode of The O.C. The only difference being that the events were less tidy and much less entertaining.

    With haphazard acting (minus the Julia Roberts performance which feels like a slight revelation), a few laughs, and background music deeming Mother’s Day to be less than dramatic, Garry Marshall is clearly on holiday here (no pun intended). The adult situations involving the main characters, are resolved quickly and predictably. Added to that, the outtakes at the end are a tired combination of bonus scenes and bloopers. Is Marshall gonna keep making movies about kaleidoscopic, celebration fare? I can’t stop him. However, if Independence Day, Columbus Day, Sweetest Day, or Yom Kippur make their plights to the silver screen, I sure won’t be buying a ticket. Rating: 2 stars.

    Rating: 2 out of 4 stars

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  • I can hear the green light meeting for this movie. Director Garry Marshall is saying that the movie is a Mother’s Day version of Love Actually with multiple story lines, some of which over-lap, and happy endings all around. Who could ask for more from a movie? I could. Originality would have been nice. Unpredictability would have been appreciated. But with those there would be no anticipation of what’s coming up because you know it’s coming up. You know it’s all going to work out but how? There is something to be said for predictability. You can sit back and enjoy the story because you know where it’s going so you’re not constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m afraid, if this movie is a success, however, we might have one of these movies for every major and minor holiday over the course of the year. Halloween Actually. Flag Day. Love Hanukkah. Actually Arbor Day.
    Writers Tom Hines, Lily Hollander, Anya Kochoff, and Matthew Walker have the enviable task of writing four short films that are blended together. They do not go wrong, under the circumstances. Each story has it’s little build and it’s little resolution, more often than not without serious evolution. Gary Marshall is a master who can put just about the right twist on anything and he does. You can see Marshall’s hand as the director of this film from the locations to the performances to the editing.
    The performances are handled well by the entire cast but place no demand on their skills or abilities and certainly do not stretch the actors into new ground. I can’t explain too much but Julia Roberts is star TV pitchwoman. Roberts plays her character, Miranda, stiffly until you realize that’s how the character is but as things go she loosens up. Hector Elizondo is her agent and pal and it’s nice to see him use his comic chops.
    Jennifer Aniston plays Sandy a divorced mother of two who is told by her ex that he’s remarried while she was still holding out hope they might get together. Timothy Olyphant plays her husband Henry who is happy with his new marriage and wants to share it with his kids. Can you see where this one’s going? Keep in mind happy endings.
    Then there’s the family in conflict. Margo Martindale plays the mom/grandmom named Flo. Martindale may not stretch but she has great comic delivery. Robert Pine plays the father/grandfather and is a great match for Martindale. Their daughters, Jessie played by Kate Hudson and Gabi played by Sarah Chalke, have some explaining to do. Aasif Mandvi plays someone in this story but I’m not going to explain who because it would give too much away but he does it well under the circumstances of the predictability of the whole movie.
    Jason Sudeikis plays a widowed father with two daughters who think he needs to loosen up and get back into life again.
    Finally, there’s Britt Robertson who plays Kristin and Jack Whitehall who plays Zack. He wants to get married seeing as they have a child and they’ve been living together for years but she’s can’t do it.
    Also in the movie, aside from a slew of actors with the same last name as the director including Penny, are Larry Miller, Jennifer Garner, and Jon Lovitz. Lovitz is hard to miss but the other two you may have to search for.
    I give Mother’s Day 3 ½ siblings out of 5. There are some good laughs and it’s all happy endings but it’s not anything new.

  • “That was a historic disaster. This is all so stupid. What are we doing?” One would be hard-pressed to find a more accurate summation of Garry Marshall’s latest holiday-themed, star-studded Mother’s Day, a film which proves that no amount of star power can save a badly written, barely directed, unrelentingly terrible story.

    Leading the pack of imprisoned but well-paid stars is Jennifer Aniston as Sandy, a perpetually stressed mother of two still on such good terms with her ex-husband Henry (Timothy Olyphant, all squinty eyes and roguish charm) that she wonders if they might be on the road to reconciliation. Nope. Turns out that Henry has just gotten himself eloped with the much-younger Tina (Shay Mitchell), whose bombshell good looks and immediate ease with the kids send Sandy into DEFCON 1 level Anistonisms.

    Meanwhile, Sandy keeps running into physical trainer and widower Bradley (Jason Sudeikis), who is about to face his first Mother’s Day without his wife (Jennifer Garner, lucky enough to appear in the briefest of cameos though not fortunate enough to escape this mess altogether). Of course, he’s not ready to move and, yes, because he has a teenage daughter, the three (!!!) screenwriters must include a scene with him buying tampons. On the less watchable side of the admittedly whippet-thin spectrum is Kate Hudson’s storyline as Jesse, who lives next door to her sister Gabi (Sarah Chalke). They’re the unlikely spawn of rambunctious rednecks Earl and Flo (Robert Pine and Margo Martindale, the only ones who seem to be having a hoot and a half), both of whom are so ultra-conservative and inherently racist that both daughters have yet to reveal the truth about their personal lives – namely, that Jesse is married to an Indian guy (Aasif Mandvi) and Gabi is wedded to fellow lesbian Max (Carmen Esposito). Hilarity is presumably meant to ensure when Earl and Flo surprise their daughters for a visit.

    Lastly, there is Kristin (Britt Robertson), a new mom whose perpetually cold feet strain her relationship with Zack (Jack Whitehall), an aspiring stand-up comic who is also her baby’s father. Kristin’s reluctance has to do with a secret concerning Miranda (Julia Roberts), a haughty home shopping network star who has pointedly prioritised her career over motherhood. Roberts must love Marshall, who directed her all those years ago in her star-making role in Pretty Woman, because affection and allegiance are the only logical explanations for her agreeing not only to appear in this dreck, but to have that absurd wig placed upon her head.

    Marshall favourite Hector Elizondo comes in to support his Pretty Woman co-star; the two even throw back to that sparkling romantic comedy at one point, but for naught. The scene and much of Mother’s Day only serves as a reminder that Marshall has done far better. His work may be brazen and unapologetic wish-fulfillment fantasies, but they were packaged well and he knew how to make his stars shine. There’s none of that magic touch in Mother’s Day which, for all the plot strands in play, never stirs from its wearisome and willful inertia.

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