Thursday, May 9, 2024

Mother of the Bride: Movie Review

Mother of the Bride is a Netflix romantic comedy which has minimal romance, a few awful attempts at comedy, and has no clue who its target audience is. The center of the romance is Lana (Brooke Shields) a widowed single mother of Emma (Miranda Cosgrove) who is about to get married in Thailand. Lana is then thrown for a loop when she finds out the father of the groom is her old college flame Will (Benjamin Bratt).   2024

Directed by: Mark Waters

Screenplay by: Robin Bernheim

Starring: Brooke Shields, Benjamin Bratt

It is usually reasonable to assume the target audience will be close in age to the two leads – Shields and Bratt are both late 50s-60. The problem is I just don’t see what this movie offers to those mature adults. The comedy is so infrequent and so lame: most of the jokes involve falling into water, and then they’re wet! Presumably no adult is going to laugh at that, and the extremely stilited performances from the less experienced cast doesn’t help with the lack of comedy at all.

The character of Emma also leads to my confusion with the target audience. Emma is the bride, arguably the heroine of the story, the one who gets her mother to open her eyes to the romance in front of her. A character we’re supposed to… like? This shouldn’t be a question because I cannot think of any other romantic comedy set at a wedding where the bride is not the love interest and is also not a likable person. Emma’s job is influencer. Her wedding is basically paid for by brands that she doesn’t really care about but will help build her brand. And other than Lana voicing her concerns and Emma scaling it back a little bit, that’s all presented as perfectly reasonable. Very few people over the age of Gen Z are going to find Emma cool or nice or even a good person.

Emma is of course secondary to the mother of the bride, except her mother is even worse. Brooke Shields has had a tendency in her recent rom-coms to go too big, too annoying, and comes across as a shrill over-bearing person that you want to spend the least amount of time as possible with. And that’s exactly what she is here as well, but also unevenly written. Lana is originally presented as a no-nonsense, extremely successful, hard-working scientist who doesn’t have time for anything but her career. This holds true for the most part since Emma at the beginning sees her mother as someone who will criticize her and judge her for her choices and the reason she and Will broke up originally was because she was too focused on her future. Then at the end after Emma and Lana need to make-up after a fight, we’re told that Lana is a completely selfless person who spends all of her time looking after others. No, this is not possible because the first version of Lana fit. This is second version of Lana is when a movie needs to re-write its main character to give the audience a happy ending even though very little makes sense anymore.

This movie shares a lot in common thematically with Ticket to Paradise the Julia Roberts and George Clooney rom-com where their daughter gets married in Bali, but a significantly poorer version. You might have also noticed the lack of Chad Michael Murray in my review, which goes a long with the lack of Chad Michael Murray in the movie. A character who shows up for a few scenes but doesn’t go anywhere because it was obvious from the beginning the movie didn’t have much use for him. Sorry Gen X-ers, we’re not the target audience either.

Mother of the Bride offers unlikable characters in a poorly produced movie with uneven writing, poor use of the exotic locale, minimal comedy and a soundtrack that never gets off the ground.