Remember Pulp Fiction? A non-linear film telling a few different stories that all intersect? Winner of the Palme d’Or, one Oscar, and nominated for six more Academy Awards, six Golden Globes, nine BAFTAs, and three SAG awards? A film that’s left a legacy that can still be seen in cinema today, and even now has a large fan base, more than twenty years after release? So, films with multiple stories can be well received by both critics and audiences, as long as, well, they’re good. What a shame Garry Marshall’s attempts at this kind of storytelling never are.
There are only a few days left until everybody’s favourite holiday / card company cash in, mother’s day, and various people are preparing in their own ways. Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) is struggling with her ex-husband’s new wife being young and gorgeous. Miranda (Julia Roberts) is selling necklaces on a shopping channel. Kristin (Britt Robertson) is refusing to marry her long-term boyfriend and the father of her child. Jesse and Gabi (Kate Hudson and Sarah Chalke) are hiding their non-white husband and female partner from their old-fashioned parents, and Bradley (Jason Sudeikis) is about to face the first mother’s day as a single father since his wife passed away. Over the next few days, their stories intertwine, as they all learn something about what it means to be a mother.
Apart from a few slightly amusing lines, this ‘comedy’ has some of the worst low brow humour I’ve seen in something that isn’t made for children, possibly ever. For a film that tries to have a message of acceptance and appreciating everyone for their differences (spoilers I guess?) there are a lot of offensive jokes, with homosexuality, disability and race all being targets, and don’t forget the penis jokes! Most of the humour isn’t just not funny, it’s stupid, and made me physically react to how poor the attempts at making audiences laugh were. I would put this film next to Minions on an intellectual level.
I can’t really blame any of the actors for being a part of this. The different story threads each take up between a quarter and a fifth of the run time, so it wouldn’t have been a long shoot, and with nowhere else for the budget to go, there were probably some hefty paydays for those willing to attach their names to this trite drivel, especially Julia Roberts who reportedly took home $3 million for four days work.
It’s tough to know who to blame for this, although I do want to blame someone. This is the third time Garry Marshall has made one of these anthology films (the first two being Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve), and they’re probably a nice earner for him too. The writing is very poor, with the stories and dialogue both being victims of laziness, but again, the writers clearly didn’t have any requirement other than a minimum of ninety minutes of material. The real culprit is the people who pay to see this, so please, don’t be one of them, or next time we’ll be watching Book Day.
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