By Mark Saldana

Rating: 2 (Out of 4 Stars)

Movie plots do not get any more predictable than this.  Director Garry Marshall’s latest holiday film is more or less the same as his previous ones.  People have real-life problems. Things get a bit stressful, with both comedic and dramatic results.  People argue and fight, with relationships on the line.  However, in the end, these people are able to work out their differences and celebrate the holiday that makes up the title of the movie. For those reading this review and now complaining that I just spoiled Mother’s Day, I am not guilty of that.  I think the plot of this film was already evident the moment that the title was first announced and credited to Mr. Garry Marshall.

The film follows three different famillies, some of whom are connected through friendship.  Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) is a divorced mother of two boys (Caleb Brown, Brandon Spink) who must cope with her ex-husband Henry’s (Timothy Olyphant) latest marriage to a much younger and “hipper” lady named Tina (Shay Mitchell).  Sandy’s good friend Jesse (Kate Hudson) and Jesse’s sister Gabi (Sarah Chalke) have an estranged relationship with their mother Flo (Margo Martindale).  Jesse and Gabi have kept some secrets about their respective relationships from their parents, as they are not as progressive-thinking as other people.  Jesse’s friend Kristin (Brit Robertson) is a new mother and her relationship with her boyfriend Zack (Jack Whitehall) is facing some problems, as he pressures her to marry him while she is dealing with some personal issues of her own.  Finally, Bradley (Jason Sudeikis) is a widowed father unable to really move on with his life after losing his wife several years ago.  Though his daughters Vicky (Ella Anderson) and Rachel (Jessi Case) have managed to cope better, his depressed state and inability to let go has put a strain on his relationship with his daughters.

Written by Tom Hines, Lily Hollander, Anya Kochoff, and Matthew Walker, Mother’s Day isn’t a horrendous film, but it feels like a waste of time to watch.  Despite a few funny and entertaining moments, I am not sure why anyone would want to spend their money or devote their time to two hours of more of the same from Garry Marshall.  The characters are not all that interesting and their development, as well as the development of the story plays out rather predictably.  I love the cast, though.  In fact, I think just about every actor has made at least one film that I absolutely adore.  I just hate to see their talents wasted in this exercise in benign and bland entertainment.  I know that Garry Marshall isn’t an amazing auteur, but even he is better than this.

What else can I say?  The director, who once created some fun and enjoyable TV shows in the seventies, and went on to make some decent films in the eighties, has fallen into this rut of cookie-cutter, schmaltzy holiday films.  Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and Mother’s Day all pretty much have the same plots, but with different characters, and a different holiday to celebrate.  Prior to the screening of the film, I was trying to predict what his next holiday would be.  A friend suggested that the next one should be Father’s Day.  Sadly, this will probably be the case.  Then again, maybe Marshall will have a much needed epiphany and do something completely different.  One can only hope.


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