The 400-Word Review: Mother's Day
By Sean Collier
May 2, 2016

I think someone just tricked them into starring in Mother's Day.

Garry Marshall, the pap merchant who made a handful of decent movies decades ago, has now made three films named after secondary holidays. As a whole, the trio — 2010’s Valentine’s Day, 2011’s New Year’s Eve and the new Mother’s Day — represent some of the most apathetic, thoughtless storytelling I’ve ever encountered.

And the first two at least boasted massive ensembles — while there was nothing to enjoy, at least you were never stuck with any one character for too long. Mother’s Day doesn’t even have that level of concern for its audience: This is a film that thinks you’re stupid and knows you’re not going to complain, so why bother trying to be pleasing?

The sometimes-interconnected stories at hand: Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) is divorced, and her ex-husband has remarried a much younger woman. Jesse (Kate Hudson) and Gabi (Sarah Chalke) can’t tell their parents that they’ve married a man of Indian descent and a woman, respectively. Bradley (Jason Sudeikis) is raising two girls after the death of his wife. Kristin (Britt Robertson) can’t get engaged because she’s never met her birth mother.

Don’t try to make sense out of that last sentence. The movie certainly doesn’t.

And Julia Roberts is here too, playing a media mogul ... wait, scratch that. She plays a home-shopping network host. The movie simply has all of its characters treat her as a media mogul, despite the fact that no human living in the year 2016 can even name a home-shopping host, owing in large part to the fact that such networks have been obliterated by the internet. Was HSN really the biggest product-placement bidder?

Anyway. These characters endure what might generously be called problems, always overcoming them by virtue of being rich, suburban and white. Despite the presence of many people who know how to be funny, there isn’t a single humorous moment captured on all of this celluloid; this is perhaps because the five (yes, five) credited writers think that naming a midget character Shorty counts as a joke.

Mother’s Day is a complete non-entity of a film, so unremarkable that you’re more likely to forget you are watching a movie at all than actually react to what transpires on screen. Do not, under any circumstances, take your mother to see Mother’s Day. No mother deserves such dreadful treatment.

Except maybe the mothers of the people who made this awful, awful movie.

My Rating: 1/10

Sean Collier is the Associate Editor of Pittsburgh Magazine and a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Read more from Sean at