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Mother of the Bride review - Brooke Shields' rom-com treads down aisle of mediocrity

The Netflix film Mother of the Bride is a bridal bust, lacking the sparkle it needs to shine.

Mother of the Bride review - Brooke Shields' rom-com treads down aisle of mediocrity
Mother of the Bride

Last Updated: 04.03 PM, May 09, 2024

Mother of the Bride story:

After spending some time abroad, Lana's (Brooke Shields) daughter Emma (Miranda Cosgrove) returns with some shocking news: she's getting married. The wedding will take place in the Land of Smiles, Thailand, in a month! When Lana finds out that the man (Sean Teale) who won Emma's heart is actually the son of the man (Benjamin Bratt) who broke hers many years ago, things take a turn for the worst.

Mother of the Bride review:

In one of my favourite Friends episodes, The One Where No One's Ready, Monica Geller (Courteney Cox) leaves a message to Richard Burke (Tom Selleck) stating, "I'm breezy." To which Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) replies, "Hey, you can't say you're breezy. That totally negates the breezy." What Joey says resonates with my feelings towards Mother of the Bride. It screams "breezy," which totally goes against the film. 


The film, which stars Brooke Shields as Mama Lana Winslow, portrays her as a high achiever for approximately two minutes before she abruptly transitions into the role of a mother to a daughter who unexpectedly announces her engagement to be married. Knowing nothing about her future son-in-law, Lana caves in and travels to Thailand with her best friend, Janice (Rachel Harris). This marks a reunion of sorts after nearly three decades where they meet their ex-classmates, which also includes Lana's ex-boyfriend Will (Benjamin Bratt), who happens to be RJ, her son-in-law's father.

As you expect, the reunion of ex-lovers turns into fireworks, with them reminiscing about their relationship as well as their ghosted breakup. All this takes place in the bubble of the latest trend, a sponsored wedding, where Emma (Miranda Cosgrove) turns her wedding festivities into a social media campaign to boost her life as an influencer. At a certain juncture, the film ebbs and flows, illustrating the unbreakable rules that bind an influencer's life, even when it pertains to a deeply personal event such as a wedding.

As if that weren't bad enough, Mother of the Bride blends the best parts of Ticket to Paradise and Destination Wedding, two films that show how disaster strikes when wedding planning abroad. Despite the narrative's shaky and cheaply made framework, the faraway setting emphasises wealth and luxury. Mark Waters' film doesn't bring anything new to the table, but its syrupy, sweet message of clinging to happily ever after manages to salvage a small amount of emotion.

A still from Mother of the Bride
A still from Mother of the Bride

The formulaic quality of Mother of the Bride is evident throughout. The predictable and prepared scenarios cause intensity right from the start, although there are brief flashes of creative genius that add interest, such as the staged circumstances with charismatic doctor Lucas (Chad Michael Murray). Even the fast pace isn't enough to support the material's excruciatingly subdued crises and tensions, such as the grownups' skinny-dipping excursion. 

For a film that's only one and a half hours long, the choreographed dance performance in the end credits serves to amplify the proceedings, as the play closes early. Rarely do we feel the gravitational pull of the characters' emotions or the crushing impact of their decisions. 

Even as it deals with tired themes such as the poisonous culture of likes on social media and shallow explorations of second chances at genuine love, Mother of the Bride's more enjoyable aspects suffer from excessive mutedness. 

Brooke Shields is an effortless actor, and her mere presence is enough to gauge all the attention. With the ocean as a backdrop, Brooke Shields skillfully embodied the essence of the Blue Lagoon. Benjamin, who roams around shirtless most of the time, matches her. The actor does ooze charisma with his performance, but that's about it! Two good-looking people firing up your small screen, but with chemistry? Not so much.

A still from Mother of the Bride
A still from Mother of the Bride

On the other hand, Miranda and Sean turn into background dancers in the film, who just switch positions when the track changes for a few seconds. They are only catalysts, and they don't even try to capture attention when they enter the frame.

Talking about the other supporting actors, with the movie being limited in time, their offerings also seem to be limited, and only runtime can be blamed for that. Chad and Rachel do leave a mark, though, with their unapologetic characters.

However, while I am grateful for a lighthearted adventure with Mother of the Bride, the experience with these likeable actors is lacking to the fullest.

Mother of the Bride verdict:

Mother of the Bride stumbled over its own clichés, leaving audiences with a bouquet of untapped potential. Although it provides a light diversion, the film fails to remember that originality, rather than conformity, is what makes a film truly appealing. Ultimately, one can gracefully ignore this kind of wedding invitation.

A still from Mother of the Bride
A still from Mother of the Bride


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