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By now, a yearly holiday movie with a big cast is almost as traditional the holiday itself. This year it’s Mother’s Day, and from a familiar cast and crew. The plot centers on a few mom’s with very different backgrounds and the struggles they have with their being mothers and daughters. Top of the list is Jennifer Aniston as Sandy, a middle-class divorced mom with two young rambunctious boys. Her ex-husband, played by Timothy Olyphant, has unsurprisingly hooked up with a very young twenty-something (Shay Mitchell). Kate Hudson plays Jesse, the mother of a troublemaking toddler and daughter to a pair of so-adorably-connected-they-are hard-to-handle parents they pop in on a whim, (right while she appears to be undressing for someone over the internet). Julia Roberts is Miranda, a successful television host and author who has a daughter she put up for adoption years ago who unexpectedly shows up. There’s a few more men in the picture as well. The recently very reliable Jason Sudeikis is Bradley, a single father of two girls who meets cute with Sandy.
Director Garry Marshall is no stranger to this genre, having directed New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day to name only a few titles in his massive contribution to film and television. This quirky, easily-predictable romantic comedy isn’t meant to be anything more than fluff, its success hinged solely on charisma of the cast. That doesn’t excuse its pandering though. For example, it’s hard to believe that these woman don’t know what Twitter is, a joke that is visited often in both trailers. It’s a 10-year-old service with more than 100 million users and its influence and use is ubiquitous even if you aren’t a user. But these movies exist in a closed universe with rules that apply only to the people within it. We aren’t meant to question how Jesse’s parent manage to pull into her house in a very large RV, park, get out, walk through the front door and surprise their adult daughter who is about to take her shirt off. That’s a visual joke with only a punchline but one that movies of this type often employ.
While there won’t be much in terms of surprises, Mother’s Day looks to fill in the romantic comedy gaps between superhero movies and does have a good cast. Aniston and Sudeikis were a funny couple in 2013’s We’re the Millers, and while there is no scientific reasoning behind it, it somehow always feels good to see Julia Roberts in this kind of movie, like the Queen has descended and assures us that all is in good hands.
Mother’s Day opens April 29, 2016
Tom Hines, Lily Hollander
Britt Robertson, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Jason Suidekis, Julia Roberts, Shay Mitchell, Timothy Olyphant