Mother of the Bride REVIEW – Turn Down the Invite

You're better off with Father of the Bride if you're in the mood for a wedding rom-com.

Mother of the Bride
Mother of the Bride

Did I suspect that this Netflix rom-com would be streaming garbage? Pretty much. But I thought I’d give it a chance, since Brooke Shields was in Castle for Christmas, and I kind of enjoyed that one. Mother of the Bride is not good, so much so that it doesn’t deserve its title. The film is barely a film, and it exists mainly for Netflix to have new content for its subscribers.

Shields plays Lana, the mother of the bride. She’s a renowned geneticist, and her daughter Emma (Miranda Cosgrove) feels like she’s grown up knowing she can never live up to her mom’s achievements. Emma doesn’t really have the same ambitions, and decides to go down the influencer route after college. Emma is simply not believable as an influencer – we never get a look at any of her social media profiles, so we don’t even know what exactly she’s selling. Anyway, somehow Emma’s gotten a sponsorship from Discovery resorts, and not only does she get a 6 digit signing fee, they’re also paying for her entire wedding. Once again, not very believable as Emma is a very bland character, and so is her fiancé RJ (Sean Teale).

When the entire wedding party arrives in Phuket, Lana discovers that Emma is marrying the son of Will Jackson (Benjamin Bratt), the man she was madly in love with in college. He ghosted her, she cut him out of her life, and now they’re reuniting because their children are getting married.

The only people bringing the charisma are the more seasoned actors. Shields is decent but there’s not much she can do when her character is so paper-thin. It’s been years since I’ve seen Benjamin Bratt in a rom-com – the last time was Miss Congeniality in 2000. That was over 20 years ago. The man is 60 now, and he more than holds his own against younger actors like Chad Michael Murray and Teale. He manages to be so sincere in his delivery, and you’ll believe that he’s still so madly in love with Lana. How he does this, I don’t know, as his character isn’t given much substance in the script.

The young people aren’t technically the focus of the narrative, but they are so devoid of chemistry I kind of wish they were just cut out from the film entirely. Cosgrove is miscast – she and Shields are not credible as mother and daughter – and Emma’s conflict is not something anyone would care about. Basically, she wants to please her sponsor, but isn’t considering what she might want for her own wedding.

With wedding rom-coms, the ensemble is so important as they help make the entire wedding affair feel real. But with this movie, there’s barely any supporting cast for the young people, and the few characters we do get don’t really add much to the spaces of the film. It was fun to see Chad Michael Murray, but it also felt weird that he was just relegated to eye candy, when he played a better version of this character in Freaky Friday.

The dancing at the end was a vibe, though.

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Mother of the Bride
There's nothing real about Mother of the Bride. The conflict's contrived, the set pieces drag, and the characters so paper-thin that it feels more like marketing for Phuket than a proper film.