Mother’s Day (2016) Review


Taking your mom to a restaurant run by Neo-Nazis would be preferable than watching this shit.

You may not know the name Garry Marshall, but you’ve likely heard of his works. He was the executive producer and writer for famous television shows like Mork & MindyThe Odd CoupleLaverne & Shirley, and Happy Days, and later became the director of chick flick classics like Pretty WomanRunaway Bride and The Princess Diaries. A very storied Hollywood career you might think, so why would I open with a such a distasteful opening line for a review of his latest opus? Because the son of a bitch saw Love Actually and thought he could replicate that film’s success with an American cast in a different holiday. First he gave us the miserable Valentine’s Day six years ago, then followed it up a year later with New Year’s Eve. And here he is to claim another holiday as his own with Mother’s Day…God help us if he decides to make a Memorial Day movie.

I can’t in good conscious give you a plot synopsis because A.) this movie is goddamn tripe and B.) the like Love Actually, you have a few plot lines that intersect at random times that it makes summarizing a chore. So instead, I’m simply going to describe to you what I saw in this movie because that alone will suffice to demonstrate how fucking idiotic this movie truly is. If you’re that perturbed by spoilers (I mean fucking seriously? For goddamn Mother’s Day, someone will cry “spoiler warning?”), stick you’re head in a bag and run away screaming still believing Jennifer Aniston is a good actress. For everyone else? Let’s proceed with the autopsy.

So yeah, you got Jennifer Aniston dealing with her divorced husband, Timothy Olyphant, eloping with one of the girls from Pretty Little Liars. Aniston isn’t only perturbed by the May-December romance, but believes she will be replaced by her much, much younger counterpart….two days before Mother’s Day. Look, I’m not saying the idea of a mother dealing with a step-mother wouldn’t make compelling cinema; hell Stepmom covered that ground pretty damn well. But Aniston is freaking out about her sons of 13 and 9 years old just connecting with their dad’s new wife (even though they are roughly have her age) in such a way that feels pointless. They rush through any drama in favor of stupid sight gags that are just plain not funny.

“Oh please God, kill me now…strike me where I stand”

The script doesn’t help anyone out for this or any of the other stories either. The dialogue just feels stiff and unnatural, in a way that people just don’t talk like that so it yanks you out of the movie further. Oh, and irrelevant references to social media are dropped by her and her co-starts apropos of nothing, which tells me that this was a script locked in a cupboard for a few decades before being dusted off and the new writers jamming in some pointless references to keep up with the times. Not helping is that Aniston and company are phoning their performances in. It’s a crappy little paycheck for something that likely took the whole crew less than a week to film, so Aniston doesn’t try to inject any humor into her crap lines. Even when she’s given jokes to try to flirt with another guy, it comes across as tortured that just want the scene to just fucking end (and just hope the film ends a little quicker).

But ultimately what dooms Aniston’s story is that you don’t feel any stakes for her character. You KNOW she’s going to be fine as a mom, because her ex’s new fuck-toy is completely incompetent with the kids so any strife between the two women is completely lost. Her kids are also poorly directed as well, though I imagine they may be a producer’s kids.

A story with somewhat higher stakes and even more stupidity involves Aniston’s friend played by Kate Hudson. And Hudson’s appearance confirms we’re on the shit end of romantic comedies here. I swear this lady has been in my most hated romcoms including: Bride WarsMy Best Friend’s Girl, and Something Borrowed. Mercifully she’s only in this for a quarter of the run time, but it doesn’t make her story any less tortuous. She’s married to Aasif Mandvi, an Indian doctor, and her racist ass parents from Texas disapproved of her dating anyone who wasn’t White. That would make for an interesting story…if she hadn’t lied to her husband for at least a couple of years and told him that her parents were in a mental institution suffering from dementia while cutting all contact off with her mom played by Margo Martindale.

The betrayal on her part was bad enough without her sister, who for some reason decided to stay in contact with their mother even though she also disapproves of gay people…like her…and the sister is married…with a kid at least four years old. You see the kind of shit we’re dealing with? Nobody for a fucking second would do what either of these women were doing. It would make sense if they told their mother the truth about their respective relationships, the mother rejected their relationships years ago due to her prejudices, and the story could have been about their struggle to repair their relationship on Mother’s Day. But noooooooooooooooooo, we have to go with this Three’s Company bullshit of making up elaborate lies to close family members.

“I’m just going to keep this fact for as long as possible and bam! Instant paycheck”

What pissed me off further were the stupid, ignorant jokes made by the sisters’ parents about their respective partners making some of the dumbest racist and homophobic comments I’ve seen. They’re not horrible because their disgusting comments, they’re horrible because they don’t offend enough. It’s just hanging there so they piss people off too much. Have some fucking balls, movie. I know this is a film comprised of nothing but estrogen, yet you can at least challenge your audience somehow. Or at least make them fucking laugh.

The Kate Hudson story line gets wrapped up awkwardly quickly, despite, you know: having two supposedly adult women lie to everyone they’ve ever known about their relationships. And fucking Kate Hudson didn’t give a shit. Even as Aasif Mandvi was behaving like any normal person would (read: pissed-the-fuck-off), Hudson is just awkwardly smiling and on the verge of near laughter in every damn scene regardless of dramatic relevance. Oh and of course, the film contrives reasons for both her AND Jennifer Aniston to take their tops off because the 81-year-old director wanted to see titties in his women allegedly marketed towards to middle aged moms.

Goddamn I’m only halfway through this damn movie and NO! No do not close this review, I’m not freaking done yet. By the time you finish my review, less than minutes of your day went by. I squandered two hours of my fucking life for this movie, and I’ll be damned if those hours will go to waste without everyone hearing how freaking dumb this shit is.

We also have Jason Sudekis a recently widowed husband and father of two girls. His wife, played by Jennifer Gardner, was killed in action while serving as a marine. So while cheaply trying to tug your heartstrings by making you “think about the troops,” the film sloppily handles his story as he tries to raise his two daughters by himself. By some of the characters’ dialogue, it makes it sound like he’s failing at the job…but the movie contrarily shows him more or less on top of his shit and is actually pretty restrained when his daughter is acting like a brat.

Now I really like Sudekis, but he just looks fucking bored to be here. And he fails to engage with any other character so his comedy falls completely leaving to his sassy, large, Black friend (for in a romcom there must ALWAYS be a goddamn sassy, large, Black friend) to try to inject some humor that also fails to be funny.

The movie tries to make a meet-cute happen between him and Aniston, but they have fuck all chemistry together and don’t share enough scenes with each other to make you want them to hook up. Their exchange is limited to meeting in a grocery store, have an awkward conversation, then he tries to avoid her at his job, then he ends up helping her hand out of a vending machine (how she got there is too stupid to explain) and that’s it! That’s all we get between these two characters and the movie expects you to believe they will hook up in the future…off screen or something.

Finally (thank sweet merciful Christ), we have Julia Roberts (oh GODDAMMIT) as some home shopping network pitchwoman. The movie just features scenes with her hawking cheap goods and it was making me wonder what the fuck Julia Roberts was supposed to be doing here. Halfway through the film, it’s revealed she had a teenage pregnancy and gave up her baby for adoption years ago. Said baby comes back and grows up to be Britt Robertson who also recently gave birth to a daughter out of wedlock with her terrible British comedian boyfriend. Robertson’s role involves her getting cold feet with marrying her baby daddy even though the guy is ready to commit to the relationship.

“Goddammit Garry, I’m not drunk enough for this bullshit”

That whole relationship drama gets fucking side tracked repeatedly through the movie by the other three plots running throughout, so of course you feel nothing for the bullshit that’s happening in front of you. Anyways, Robertson only really comes into play when she reveals herself as Roberts’ daughter. Their reunion has all the warmth and emotion of an owner watching his dog take a crap on their crush’s shoes. I’m serious, this whole exchange is completely and utterly useless and lacks any punch whatsoever.

And that’s what fucking kills me about this movie. Any one of these four stories could have made a decent if not forgettable film, but it looks like Garry Marshal just collected a packet of scripts, took out what he needed from them and had the stories take place around Mother’s Day to compose this movie. It doesn’t fucking work.

Love Actually, for all the shit I’ve given it over the years, has a few characters that behaved like real people and said a funny line here and there when it wasn’t being awkward or creepy. But Marhsal’s holiday comedy trilogy fails to capture the most important lesson from Love Actually: be fucking funny and charming. From Valentine’s Day to New Year’s Eve to Mother’s Day, these movies are freaking terrible. The story lines are insipid, the characters are boring or detestable, and the jokes don’t freaking work. Honestly, how the hell do you make a ROMCOM without the “romance” or the “comedy?”

This film was agonizing to watch. It’s straight up water torture with it’s running time of nearly two bloody hours. And keep in mind, I was in a pretty occupied theater with nothing but middle aged women who occasionally would chuckle here and there, but nobody laughed through this disaster.

For God’s sake, don’t take your mom to see this on Mother’s Day. That would literally be the worst gift to give your mom outside of giving her flowers she’s allergic to. Garry Marshal, despite having a storied Hollywood career cannot direct any more. He has no comedic timing and he has no idea how to even make farical humor look fun. I’ll be the first to admit I actually like The Princess Diaries but that’s because Anne Hathaway was charming and there was an actual story involved with quirky characters. This movie is the complete goddamn opposite of that.

It’s not worse than Fifty Shades of Black or Zoolander 2, but it’s definitely knocking around Gods of Egypt‘s ballpark. Fuck Garry Marshal and may he never make another holiday romcom again and…


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