Film: “Mother’s Day”; Director: Garry Marshall; Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Timothy Olyphant, Shay Mitchell, Caleb Brown, Julia Roberts, Jason Sudeikis, Aasif Mandvi; Rating: **
With an ensemble cast, Garry Marshall’s “Mother’s Day” is a composite canvas of multiple stories that include mothers and daughters, children and parents, assembled couples, couple of the same sex, a divorced couple and a widower and his daughters, all intertwined with an excuse of remembering mothers on Mother’s Day.
The core story revolves around Sandy (Jennifer Aniston), a single “mother of two boys”. She is divorced and is jealous that her ex-husband Henry (Timothy Olyphant) has married a much younger woman, Tina (Shay Mitchell), who is now getting closer to her children too.
Orbiting her are other characters that include sisters Jesse (Kate Hudson) and Gabbi (Sarah Chalke), who hide their love lives from their parents; an uptight television celebrity and career-oriented woman Miranda (Julia Roberts); the widower Bradley (Jason Sudeikis), who is struggling to move on with his love life while preserving the memory of his late wife for his two daughters; Zack (Jack Whitehall), a bar attendant and a stand-up comedian who desires to marry his longtime girlfriend Kristin (Britt Robertson), who has acceptance issues.
The script written by Tom Hines, Lily Hollander, Anya Kochoff and Matthew Walker is packed with gags that have cynically hard edges which present different types of moods of entanglement.
Most of the scenes are brilliant, but disconnected with the next, as the dialogues are a conversation-and-a-half, making it difficult to emotionally connect with the characters. Also the narration meanders with no real dramatic occurrence.
What starts off on a serious yet light-hearted note, loses focus and gradually integrates a series of comic tropes which includes, rash driving with faulty breaks, inter-racial innuendoes and slapstick comedy.
The competent Jennifer Aniston is charismatic as Sandy. She smoothly conveys the angst of a mother caught at the cross-roads of life. She adds an emotional heft to her frothy role, especially when her sons ask her what they should call their father’s new wife. She replies in a believable yet funny tone, “Ma’am is nice.”
She is aptly supported by the rest of the cast. Timothy Olyphant as the flighty Henry is natural. Jason Sudeikis as Bradley is endearing. Julia Roberts with a hideous wig, is wasted in a fringe role.
With moderate production values, the film is charming. The song, “Loving can hurt sometimes,” seamlessly meshes with the narration.
Overall, with Mother’s Day round the corner, this cheerful film is worth a watch with family and friends, but in no way would this film make it into the memorable list of films.