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DVD Review: Mother’s Day

August 2, 2016

By John Corrado

★ (out of 4)

Mother's Day DVDThe final film from late director Garry Marshall, Mother’s Day follows in the footsteps of his earlier movies Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve to offer another anthology comedy, this time centred around the second Sunday in May.

Like the first two films, Mother’s Day follows many different archetypes leading up to the titular holiday.  Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) is an overworked single mother who is struggling to share her two sons with her ex-husband (Timothy Olyphant) and his much younger new wife (Shay Mitchell).  Bradley (Jason Sudeikis) is a widowed father who doesn’t know if he should celebrate the holiday with his two daughters, who lost their mother in the army less than a year earlier.

Jesse (Kate Hudson) is in a mixed-race relationship with her husband (Aasif Mandvi), and her sister Gabi (Sarah Chalke) is married to a woman (Cameron Esposito), much to the ire of their bigoted parents (Margo Martindale and Robert Pine), who they are forced to reconnect with when they drive their trailer up from Texas as a surprise.  Miranda (Julia Roberts) is a home shopping channel rep who has devoted her life to a career instead of raising kids.  Kristen (Britt Robertson) is a young woman who has just had a baby girl with her sweet boyfriend Zack (Jack Whitehall), but is scared of marriage because she has commitment issues from being adopted as a child, and you’ll never guess who her biological mother is.

Even by the pretty low standards of the first two entries in this loosely assembled trilogy, Mother’s Day is almost shockingly bad, and it’s insulting how little thought seems to have gone into the film.  It’s bloated and overlong, almost offensively stereotyped despite its broad attempts to be inclusive, and so predictable every step of the way that it may as well have been called Cliché: The Movie.  This is a film that draws mostly soap opera level performances from its celebrity cast, is lit with the overly bright sheen of a TV movie, and features a heart-to-heart with a very wise clown at a key moment in the plot.

Sure, Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikas are inherently likeable, but they are capable of better than what they are given here.  Even the jokes feel tired, and the sentimental moments ring hollow in their cheap attempts to ring tears from the audience.  The problem with Mother’s Day is that the whole thing just feels so trite, and it’s delivered with all the heart of a cheap holiday card that was bought at the last minute out of necessity.  Mothers everywhere deserve more than this tacky and poorly conceived film.

The DVD also includes five deleted scenes and a gag reel.

Mother’s Day is an Elevation Pictures release.  It’s 118 minutes and rated PG.

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