Mother of the Bride

Mother of the Bride
Mother of the Bride
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No one said it was easy being a mother and if you have doubts, just ask Brooke Shield’s character Lana in the Netflix’s latest romantic comedy Mother of the Bride. One minute your daughter is clinging to you and insisting that she cannot get married without you, while on the other hand, she is threatening to kick you out of her wedding in Thailand because you offended her “corporate parent” by swimming naked at their resort. I am sure every mother knows what that feels like right?

The beginning of Mother of the Bride seems to depict Lana’s struggle with the fact that Emma (Miranda Cosgrove) has gotten engaged to someone whom she had never met before. What makes things even more interesting is that RJ (Sean Teale), fiancé-to-be, also turns out to be the product of Lana’s dirtiest college ex Will (played by certified zaddy Benjamin Bratt). And all this fun information happens when they reach Thailand for wedding destination. Actually, this is not nearly as important.

It appears however that in Emma’s case her most complicated love story does not concern her brilliant controlling mom or maybe smooth-talking but likely fake husband-to-be; no it has something to do with her passion for… looks through notes brand ambassadorship? Jesus Christ!

From her name down to life goals, there is nothing distinctively “Gen Z” about Miss Emma Rose Winslow. She never looks happier than when she announces at the start of this film that she has signed a brand sponsorship deal worth six figures with a fancy hotel chain. “I know it’s not grad school,” she says to a mother who just got another year of funding for her groundbreaking lab at Johns Hopkins. “But this is what I want my career to look like!” (Lana somehow manages genuine encouragement.) While there might be an ongoing narrative about Gen Z having less sex or something similar, there are no sparks between Emma and her fiancé, who have never tongue kissed before.

The emotions run deep in this movie: Lana has not forgiven Will for leaving her high and dry so many years earlier, even though they were together for a year. She tells Emma that RJ displays many similar emotional detachment traits to those of his father. This does nothing to relieve the pressure on Emma as she attempts to organize a fast wedding in Phuket sponsored by the hotel chain that has decided to make her its poster child.

Mother of the Bride leaves out a lot of stuff that makes us wonder. Like are all of Emma and RJ’s friends millionaires or something? Otherwise, how could they each pay last minute flights to Thailand for the weekend wedding with only a few weeks’ notice? Or perhaps these two do not have any other friends at all since their parents end up playing maid of honor and best man respectively. Oh yes, let us not forget; if he was instrumental in helping her grow her lifestyle socials then should we fear mixing business with pleasure too much? And what exactly does his role in her career mean for their relationship? I am still lost after 90 minutes with these people!

There is a reaction to her character which makes the movie seem nothing more than a paint-by-numbers exercise. This includes gags like, pulling him into a pond when he tries to help by picking up her purse (accidentally), Lana’s barely repressed rage toward Will that manifests in clumsy. His chair leg falls on his foot at dinner. During pickleball, she throws a ball right at him… ugh! Let me stop there. Besides, there were also several instances where Lana’s competitive spirit showed as she literally found out he had given their children a multi-million dollar condo in Tribeca for their wedding while all she gave them was the most expensive item on their registry— a state-of-the-art cappuccino maker. If we could only all be so rich and have such costly interpersonal tension!

On the other hand, Emma is living in an expensive wedding planner dream that is Camala(Tasneem Roc)the corporate rep of leading actress thanks to her very costly wedding planer. She went with centerpieces from the same supplier that did Meghan and Harry’s wedding (for laughs), got herself a five figure “next Vera Wang” Daisy St. Daisy bridal gown plus bridesmaids dresses from Klaus von Klaus another equally important designer. (Yes, it plays that way and no, it doesn’t quite make up for how silly it is.) It may be turning into more of an impersonal circus warns Lana to her daughter about this whole thing even though Emma could care less because she got excited about having many people stream her wedding live online. That was when I finally realized I didn’t care anything about this girl anymore: May be this happened at the moment Emma requested her mother to read some prepared remarks during rehearsal dinner.

That moral stands clear throughout this film. But who is this brown-haired social climber throwing shade back at Camala even as she makes a stand against her? She simply is Pachelbel’s Canon in D played while walking the aisle. Beautiful, polished and forgettable. Everything about her is safe for brands and she doesn’t have a single quirk or defining characteristic beyond that, so the final-act epiphany falls flat into the swimming pool with barely a ripple. Nonetheless, it isn’t Cosgrove’s fault at all as the script hardly offers her anything else.

However, grownups get to have more fun in this movie; even if supporting actors like Wilson Cruz (as Will’s brother, Scott) and Rachael Harris (here playing Lana’s partying sister Janice) are criminally underutilized. They spend their days working or hunting out backdrops for photo shoots while their children actually get to enjoy Thailand—or rather, their resort. They go skinny dipping, play tennis games and marooned by a broken-down Jeep. Chad Michael Murray turns up as well in the role of flirtatious doctor Lucas “Hemsworth hottie” who also helps distract Lana from her problems with Will because of his abs which will not be brought down by anybody’s drama. It was unusual for women in their forties to be having more fun than those starring in a rom com that’s why I give props to this film.

I’m not saying that it is a terrible film, but Mother of the Bride is just about average. Actually, its emotional storytelling weaknesses were fairly similar to other modern romantic comedies like this one which are sometimes too self-conscious and do not pay attention to real emotions. After all, it’s completely ordinary. It has the same taste as a costly Mai Tai at a hotel bar that leaves you with a hangover yet you won’t remember anything about it after you recover from the hangover.

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