Perhaps the best that can be said about this cringe-worthy rom-com is that octogenarian Garry Marshall has assured his continuing Academy membership by staying ‘active’ in an industry that could all-too-soon forget he once directed hits like “Pretty Woman,” “Runaway Bride,” “Beaches” and “The Princess Diaries,” not to mention creating TV’s “Happy Days” and “Laverne & Shirley.” Read on…
Following “Valentine’s Day” (2010) and “New Year’s Eve” (2011), Marshall’s star-studded holiday franchise now includes this treacly ensemble tribute to motherhood in its various suburban permutations.
Perennially perky Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) is a divorcee with two sons whose ex-husband (Timothy Olyphant) has just married his much-younger girlfriend (Shay Mitchell). It’s a foregone conclusion that Sandy will end up with widower Bradley (Jason Sudeikis), father of teenage daughters, whose military wife (Jennifer Garner) died in combat in Afghanistan.
Jesse (Kate Hudson) and her sister are estranged from their prejudiced/homophobic mother (Margo Martindale) and father (Robert Pine). Unbeknownst to their parents, Jesse’s married to Russell (Aasif Mandvi), whose family came from India, while Gabi (Sarah Vhalke) has a lesbian spouse (Cameron Esposito).
Then there’s Kristin (Britt Robertson), who discovers that her birth mother, who gave her up for adoption a newborn, is super-successful Miranda (Julia Roberts, wearing a bizarre red wig), who hawks ‘mood pendants’ on the Home Shopping Network.
Scripted by Tom Hines, Anya Kochoff-Romano and Matthew Walker from a story by Lily Hollander, the sappy, sentimental, intertwining narratives are disjointed and the various vignettes are not only formulaic but utterly predictable, including an excursion to the ER and the runaway RV.
While it’s fun to see Hector Elizondo again (he’s always in Garry Marshall’s movies), the most spontaneous moments occur during the ‘blooper’ credits, as Jennifer Aniston calls Julia Roberts “Julia,” not “Miranda,” and Roberts stares vacantly out a train window.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Mother’s Day” is a confectionary 4. Mom deserves better.