What is it with Garry Marshall in recent times? Beaches and Pretty Woman are unashamedly sentimental, but good memorable films nevertheless – and as much as some dislike Pretty Woman, we pretty much agree that it is effective in being a funny, romantic and memorable movie. In recent times, it’s as if he wanted to revisit the hugely successful Love, Actually and use the same formula, i.e. seemingly unconnected strangers who are at the end linked to one another – into his movies. Maybe he wants to create a trilogy or tetralogy with every holiday – starting with Valentine’s Day (2010), New Year’s Eve (2011) and now Mother’s Day (2016). I can’t wait for Pet Day.
For Mother’s Day, we have Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) – a divorced mother of two – who has to grapple with her ex-husband marrying a much younger woman, Jesse (Kate Hudson) who marries an Indian husband – unbeknownst to her traditional parents. Jesse’s sister, Gabi (Sarah Chalke) is gay and lives with her partner Max (Cameron Esposito) – she also hides her lifestyle from their parents. Also thrown into the mix is Miranda (Julia Roberts), a popular host of a TV shopping channel, who is hiding a secret. To appeal to those who still go ooh-aah over Pretty Woman, Héctor Elizondo is also part of the cast – with a subtle reference to their time together in Pretty Woman.
This movie tries really hard to lure you in – let me see, there’s a guy with a charming British accent, a LGBTIQ storyline, adoption, racism, a husband who lost his wife who was in the military – what is missing is the kitchen sink. Oh, and in the spirit of deconstructed dishes, there is also the disjointed scenes and storylines. It’s like a chef who is throwing every ingredient possible into the mix and hoping that somehow it will be a pleasant and delicious meal – however, the end product is a massive unpalatable mess. Yes, you still have some funny moments here and there – and the sentimental among us may get teary. I consider myself a sook, but I ended up muttering things like, “Puh-lease. This is stupid!” during some of the ‘funny’ or ‘sentimental’ moments. I wonder if this movie was commissioned by the Royal Society for the Advancement of Mother’s Day or something – there’s even a song about Mother’s Day as the credit rolls up at the end of the movie.
Let me give you my tip – don’t ruin your Mother’s Day this year and skip this movie. There are many other great movies about Mother’s Day that are not try-hards.