Briana Benitez, Class of 2017
This past Friday, April 29th, Gary Marshall’s Mother’s Day hit the big screen. This is the same man who directed Pretty Woman, so one would have pretty high expectations. With a star-studded cast including Pretty Woman’s Julia Roberts, along with Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, and Kate Hudson nothing could go wrong right? Wrong. The film falls short of entertainment and feels more like a poorly executed Hallmark commercial.
The film takes place in Atlanta, Georgia and centers around the narrative of four mothers, in the days leading up to Mother’s Day. Granted the film is classified as a ‘rom-com’, so one would anticipate cheesiness, but Marshall takes it three levels beyond too far. Most of the characters in the film were white and the attempt to incorporate ethnicity is done by adding in exaggerated stereotypical characters. Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) is the sad divorcee, her friend Jesse (Kate Hudson) is hiding secrets from her parents, Bradley (Jason Sudeikis) is a single dad, and Miranda (Julia Roberts) is a TV personality (who wears the world’s ugliest wig) not quite her usual Pretty Woman self.
The biggest downfall of the film is how culturally insensitive it is. The racist jokes and overuse of stereotypical characters is distasteful. The film could have completely done without Jesse’s character and her racist Texan parents. Marshall decided it would be appropriate for Kate Hudson’s husband to be an Indian doctor and to dress his mother in a Sari and head jewel that looks like he just googled “Indian clothes”. It does not at all feel authentic.
Many aspects of the movie feel forced. There were a number of entire scenes that should have not made the final cut. Someone thought it would be a good idea to have extras make an appearance on screen and share a few lines and dry jokes that make the viewers borderline uncomfortable.
The product placement in Mother’s Day is palpable. It was no surprise that there would be a big bottle of Aveeno face wash on the screen because Jennifer Aniston is their official spokesperson, as well as her use of a Samsung phone. Kate Hudson’s character jokes about her Snapchat story which is fitting because she snaps in real life just about everyday. The film does do a nice job mirroring the digital age in which we rely on. The cinematography of the vending machine scene is the best scene in the entire movie and that says enough in itself.
Unfortunately, this film will probably hinder Marshall’s reputation rather than help it. There’s nothing special about it and ultimately feels like any other typical holiday movie in which there are minor tribulations and of course somehow everything magically works itself out. The A-list cast did not suffice for the poor script. If you’re in the mood to see every cliché in the book of cliché then it is definitely worth your $11.50 however, if you want to remain your mother’s favorite do not take her to see Mother’s Day this holiday.