A limp and saccharine end to a great career, “Mother’s Day” forms the third and final part of Gary Marshall’s ensemble holiday-themed dramedy trilogy and, despite how bad “Valentine’s Day” was, “Mother’s Day” still finds enough depths to plumb to ensure it adheres to the law of trilogies.
In the build-up to Mother’s Day – which is apparently a huge deal for the purposes of this film – a diverse and eclectic mix of friends and families love, laugh and learn the true meaning of motherhood.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking Mother’s Day the day. The film, yes, but not the day itself. As usual, Marshall manages to corral a glittering array of big screen talent – and Jack Whitehall – to populate his candyfloss melodrama but ultimately it all feels arbitrary and inconsequential despite setting its sights on such weighty topics as divorce, bereavement, racism and homophobia. It wastes the talents of the likes of Jason Sudeikis and allows many of its biggest names to stay lazily in their comfort zones all in service to a cosily twee resolution. Deeply unpleasant lifelong homophobia and racial prejudices are resolved in the twinkling of an eye thanks to some awkwardly forced hijinks while the absence of a mother is essayed by underlining how inept men are in caring for children, typified by a ‘humorous’ scene where a man who’s apparently been married for over a decade has somehow never had to buy tampons before. It’s okay because then he makes up for his late wife’s absence by showering his children with material goods. Bless.
Despite the film’s frequent and clumsy shout-outs to Julia Roberts’ back catalogue, she also features in the movie’s only vaguely worthwhile scene (unless you count the gag reel which plays over the end credits which is, honestly, much more fun than the film itself) as Julia Roberts and Jennifer Anniston share the screen together in a pivotal encounter. It’s the rom-com equivalent of the iconic cinematic meeting of DeNiro and Pacino in “Heat”.
Trite, pointless and sentimentally uninvolving, not even a mother could love this tedious schlockfest.