by Hiko Mitsuzuka @TheFirstEcho
Director Garry Marshall completes his romantic holiday trilogy with Mother's Day, another brightly lit, star-studded affair in which good-looking folks in better looking homes bicker, cry, laugh, and fall in love within a safe 118-minute running time.
Thankfully there are less characters to keep track of this time around (believe it or not). The cast list here is minimal compared to the epic call sheets that must've been produced for 2010's Valentine's Day and 2011's New Year's Eve.
There's divorced mom Sandy (Jennifer Aniston doing her best...Jennifer Aniston), trying to adjust to the news of her dashing ex (Timothy Olyphant) getting married to perky twentysomething Tina (PLL hottie Shay Mitchell). There's Jesse (Kate Hudson), who struts around in Pilates outfits half of the time while hiding her marriage to an Indian doctor (Aasif Mandvi) from her racist, RV-driving parents (Robert Pine and Margo Martindale). There's Jesse's sister Gabi (Sarah Chalke), who won't come out of the closet and introduce her partner and adopted son to said racist parents (a storyline that might have worked in 1996). There's widower Bradley (Jason Sudeikis) who has to face the holiday for the first time without the mother of his two daughters. And then there's Kristin (Britt Robertson), a new mother who has reservations about marrying her cute British baby daddy (UK comic Jack Whitehall), probably because she's on a mission to meet the woman who gave her up for adoption (Julia Roberts, playing Miranda, a home-shopping network queen with the scariest orange 'do since Agnes Moorehead strutted across the set of Bewitched).
Yes, friends, we have reached that moment in pop culture in which Julia Roberts is playing a grandmother.
How does this happen? Don't forget, Garry Marshall is practically responsible for giving the world Julia Roberts (remember a little film called Pretty Woman?), so one can't help but wonder if, behind every smile of hers, she's gritting her teeth saying, "I'm only here because this 81-year-old man discovered me, and I owe him every single fiber of my soul during the rest of his life."
You could say the same for Hector Elizondo, who appears in every one of Marshall's films, playing the same character who interrupts the narrative with a short, wisdom-filled speech that hand-feeds The Big Message to the audience.
Everything else about Mother's Day is as derivative and contrived as the headlines of the negative reviews it will inevitably receive. It is the broadest and most unimaginative of the kind of mass-appeal entertainment that attempts to woo millions of people with its shiny-happy sensibilities and hacky jokes.
For those of you who find guilty pleasure in light and airy schmaltz like this, it just might be the perfect springtime confection for you.
But I'm sure, without a doubt, it will be hard to impress even the biggest of those fans.
RATING: 1.5/5 stars