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Title: Mother's Day

Movie: :3stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :1star:

HTS Overall Score:74

Sadly “Mother’s Day” will be known as the final film in long standing rom com director Garry Marshall’s repertoire, as the 81 year old director passed away literally two weeks to the day before the film’s home video debut. The man has been known for his light and fluffy comedies, reaching bay into the late 80s and early 90’s with such hits as “Pretty Woman”, both “Princess Diaries” films, “Runaway Bride” and the more recent ensemble films “New Year’s Eve” and “Valentine’s Day”. To put it bluntly, the man started off with a bang, making some of the most memorable rom com of the last 30 years (seriously, you have to be living in Zambia under a rock to not have heard of “Pretty Woman”), but later in life devolved into overly sappy and clichéd films that feel a bit long in the tooth. “Mother’s Day” is another attempt to capture the magic of an ensemble cast, starring some of the stars that he has worked with for decades, with some (not) surprisingly mediocre results. While “Mother’s Day” isn’t a work of genius or even that good of a movie, I feel like it was lambasted much harsher than it should have been during the theatrical run. Its light, it’s fluffy, and more than a little cheesy, but if you’re in the mood for that type of film (which everyone is in the mood for at least sometimes) then it works as a perfectly serviceable bit of cotton candy.

As with the last couple of Garry Marshall films, we have an all-star cast with a myriad of different intersecting storylines centering around that special day of the year when we celebrate our mothers and all that they have done for us. To start off the batch we have Sandy (Jennifer Aniston), a divorced mother of two boys who is struggling with the introduction of her ex-husband, Henry’s (Timothy Olyphant) new 20 something year old wife. Now that Henry is married there is an inordinate amount of fear in her life as she tries to compete for her children’s affection, with her competition being the gorgeous “too hot to handle” bimbo that seems to be the bane of her existence. Then we have Sandy’s friends, Jesse (Kate Hudson) and Gabi (Sarah Chalke), sisters who have their own troubles to deal with in the form of mommy and daddy (played by Margo Martingale and Robert Pine), who happen to be coming for mother’s day (and of course don’t know that Jesse is married to a foreigner and Gabi is married to another woman). Then we have Miranda (Julia Roberts), a best selling author who is a little past her prime and selling cheap jewelry on late night TV. Mix in a dash of Zack (Jack Whitehall), a budding comedian, and his girlfriend Kristin (Britt Robertson) with abandonment issues (who of course is the long-lost daughter of Miranda), and of course handsome widower, Bradley (Jason Sudekis), who is learning how to cope with his first mother’s day after his wife passed away (played in a quick cameo video by Jennifer Garner).

Like with all these ensemble movies, everyone’s lives are intertwined together somehow. Sandy is friends with Jesse and Gaby, but also runs into Bradley a few times (yes sparks fly, it’s kind of hard not to run with that cliché), and Miranda is of course the mother of Kristin, which brings them together for the much anticipated wedding of her daughter and the budding comedian. Then there’s the racist parents who drop a bomb into the laps of their daughters (and their son as Jesse’s husband, Russell (Aasif Mandavi), gets a surprise visit from mommy dearest).

Simply put, the film is a heavy dose of cotton candy and liquid Hershey’s syrup with a heavy dollop of whipped cream on top. Everything is resolved as sweetly and easily as possible, with a bow wrapped it. Nothing is ever unpredictable, and the relationship pair ups are never in any doubt as to the outcome. Garry Marshall used to be the king of rom com’s during the 90’s, but lately has delved into the realm of overly predictable and syrupy films that aren’t nearly as witty or well scripted as they once were. “Mother’s Day” got REAMED theatrically as being a huge disappointment, but I really can’t see that, especially if you’ve seen his recent films. Like “Valentine’s Day” and “New Year’s Eve”, “Mother’s Day” is a simple and syrupy sweet tale revolving around a bunch of interconnected people as they try and make mother’s day special. Is it brilliant storytelling? Of course not. Is it horrible and completely irredeemable? I don’t think so. Sometimes you want something overly syrupy and about as intellectually fluffy as the afore mentioned cotton candy.

Some of the stories are a bit hit or miss, with the unrelated (from the rest of the stories) tale about Miranda and Kristin (and of course Zack) being the least engaging. It’s a sweet story, but overly done with the “mother I never knew” and feels completely separate from the rest of the stories. The most engaging and heartfelt one deals with Bradley and his two daughters, as they try to form some type of equilibrium in their crazy world dealing with the loss of their mother/wife. Bradley is still grieving for his wife, and having a hard time letting go of her memory, while the two daughters are desperately in need of a father who can be a PARENT, rather than just wrapped up his own misery. There’s the obligatory cheese with he and Sandy hitting it off, but it’s still the most heartfelt of the stories. The most HUMOROUS has to be the with Jesse, Gabi and their hodgepodge mix of a family. Daddy and mommy are your typical racist Texan stereotype (not saying Texans are racist, just saying that they’re playing with that “rednecks from the southwest who don’t like furiners and love them some American beer” routine), and they of course have a FIELD day once they find out their oldest has married Russell, a foreigner, and Gabi is a lesbian. Needless to say there’s plenty of hijinks that ensue, and more than enough chuckles from myself (although I was wincing plenty too during that tale).


Rated PG-13 for language and some suggestive material

Video :4.5stars:
“Mother’s Day” comes to Blu-ray with a sun drenched 1.85:1 AVC encoded transfer that is all around gorgeous. The film tens to have that honey colored and brightly lit glow that is indicative of Marshall’s filming style, and shows off plenty of amazing details and vivid colors along the way. Some of the whites tend to be pushed a bit hot during some of the mid-day shots, but fine detail is always excellent, showing off every line and pore in the faces of the actors (Jennifer Aniston still looks absolutely stunning, making women half her age green with envy), and the black levels are inky black and devoid of any nasty digital artifacting or noise. Overall the image is bright and cheery, looking as fluffy and sweet as the film’s script is and the Blu-ray replicates the lovely Georgia landscape with ease.

Audio :4stars:
The singular 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is just what one would expect from a romantic comedy. Heavy in the front, with a few ambient noises to fill out the back end, along with a cheery pop song inspired score to add some spice to the mix and voila, there it is in a nutshell. Dialog is crisp and clear, with no sounds of distortion or imbalance between the score and the rest of the track, and I even noticed some impressive LFE support at times (notice Timothy Olyphant slamming his car door at the party, and the roar of the soccer game for instance). The front stage has a fairly wide and distinct directional effect and the there’s even some nice panning shots at times. It’s a simple track, but one very much expected considering the genre and I find very little, if anything, to fault the encode for.

Extras :1star:

• Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel

Overall: :3.5stars:

“Mother’s Day” is nothing great, but nothing horrible either, just existing as a mindless, fluffy comedy that mirrors the light hearted style that late director Garry Marshall was known for. There’s tons of solid actor’s throughout the film (although they are hampered by the overly syrupy simple script) and plenty of cameos to give a nod to (Jon Lovitz makes a cameo holding a pug as the comedy club owner, and Hector Elizonodo makes his obligatory appearance being that he has been a character in EVERY one of Garry Marshall’s feature films). Audio and video are impressive, but the extras are a tad meager. Worth a rental if you (or the wife) is a fan of Garry’s lighthearted rom com’s.

Additional Information:

Starring: Julia Roberts, Jason Sudekis, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson
Directed by: Garry Marshall
Written by: Anya Kochoff, Matthew Walker
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Universal
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 119 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 2nd 2016

Buy Mother's Day On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Rental

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