'Mother's Day': Read Critics' (Mostly Scathing) Reviews

Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson and Jason Sudeikis star in Garry Marshall's latest holiday-pegged film.

Mother's Day, the latest holiday-pegged film from director Garry Marshall, follows a group of intertwining characters who must each address their family issues — and the movie has been subject to particularly scathing reviews. 

Starring Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson and Jason Sudeikis, the PG-13-rated dramedy — like Marshall's Valentine's Day (2010) and New Year's Eve (2011) — hits theaters a week prior to the Mother's Day holiday on May 8.

Critics had a field day with Mother's Day, here are some of the memorable ways they panned the title:

The Hollywood Reporter's Jon Frosch says the film "is bad from the start, and it doesn't get better. Part of the problem is structural. Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve came equipped with teeming big-name casts, spread out across various vignettes; hacky and dimwitted as the films were, they never stranded you with anyone for too long ... Mother's Day features far fewer characters and subplots, stretched thin over a punishingly protracted 118 minutes; there’s no buffer between you and the movie's ineptitude."

He adds, "the dialogue in Mother's Day is so colorless it's like white noise."

"What's most dispiriting about Mother's Day is how little life there is in it, how difficult the film is to connect to despite the inherent relatability of the material. It's a movie not even a mother could love."

New York Times' Glenn Kenny writes, "The unofficial conclusion of an unofficial trilogy of holiday-themed multistar comedy vehicles directed by Garry Marshall, Mother’s Day has its perfunctory heart exactly where any experienced viewer would expect it to be." He adds, "The movie, a goopy, glossy mess with 10 times more respect for contrived sentimentality than for film grammar, is bereft of genuinely amusing jokes."

Wall Street Journal's Joe Morgenstern pens, "Mother’s Day plays more like a marketing campaign than a flesh-and-blood drama, what with minor but conspicuously diverse characters that include a gay sister and her partner, a dwarf, a nice Muslim doctor, and a token (but exuberant) black woman, along with dutifully inclusive glimpses of two nuns, two kids in wheelchairs and several fatties." He adds, "It’s been a quarter-century since Mr. Marshall directed Ms. Roberts in “Pretty Woman.” You’d think we were back in an even earlier era, though, from the antiquated quality of Mother’s Day, a film that seems stuck in a world of 1960s sitcoms."

Los Angeles Times' Justin Chang declares it "the latest holiday-themed group therapy session from director Garry Marshall." Additionally, he writes, "From awkward start to merciful finish, Mother's Day is a grim, listless affair that may leave you pining for the relative pep and coherence of its predecessors (both of which were scripted by Katherine Fugate), or at least a few of their incidental pleasures. There's no one here as memorably off-key as Taylor Swift in Valentine's Day, and the blooper reel doesn't have a single throwaway gag as charming as Zac Efron and Michelle Pfeiffer tearing up the dance floor in New Year's Eve. What the movie does have is a new trio of screenwriters (Anya Kochoff Romano, Matthew Walker and Tom Hines) who have duly reproduced the Fugate formula of serving up five or six pedestrian movies for the price of one."

The Atlantic's David Sims calls it "a misshapen Frankenstein of a movie that feels like it escaped the Hallmark headquarters halfway through its creation and rampaged into theaters, trying to teach audiences how to love." Sims adds, "But it does inspire the kind of holy terror that you feel all the way down to your bones, or the revolted tingling that strikes one at a karaoke performance gone tragically wrong. While it’s aiming for frothiness and fun, Mother’s Day is a patronizing and sickly sweet endeavor that widely misses the mark for its entire 118-minute running time (it feels much longer)."

New York Post's Sara Stewart argues "The cinematic equivalent of a paper plate with macaroni and glitter haphazardly glued onto it, Mother’s Day is a film only its creators could love (and even they must be having some misgivings)." She concludes: "There is a time and a place for Mother’s Day — airplane channels and second-rate cable networks need material, too. But listen: There are many ways to honor your mom. Making her watch this tripe is not one of them."

Washington Post's Jen Chaney says of the film: "Despite an army of appealing actors in its large ensemble cast, the rom-com Mother’s Day is startlingly unappealing. Clumsily edited and culturally tone deaf, it’s more obsessed with the titular holiday than even most mothers would find reasonable." She later declares that "This thing is a mess. Though not technically part of a franchise, Mother’s Day feels like it is. That’s because director Garry Marshall’s two most recent films — Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve — also center on holidays. Like them, Mother’s Day jams too many characters and too many story lines into a single movie, relying on jokes that were stale sitcom fodder two decades ago."

USA Today's Brian Truitt believes that "Unless your mom has an extremely low bar for movie satisfaction, it’s best to do her a favor and skip a date to Mother’s Day." She adds, "Painfully overlong and overstuffed, Mother’s Day tries to do too much with a variety of storytelling gymnastics, laughable dialogue and one-dimensional characters. They’re a neurotic, mostly unrelatable bunch so when the overtly apparent emotional manipulation comes — and, oh, does it ever — the feels are mostly fleeting."

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