Mother of the Bride (dir. Mark Waters)

By: Meghan Winebrenner

In a society desperate for romantic comedies, director Mark Waters (Ghost of Girlfriends Past) tries and fails to revive the forgotten genre with his latest film Mother of the Bride. Waters' picture has all of the makings for a successful romcom. It is set in stunning Thailand, backed by Netflix’s big budget, and full of crowd-pleasing actors, however, the writing is predictable but choppy and the characters are more aggravating than amiable. Helmed by superstars Brooke Shields and Miranda Cosgrove, Mother of the Bride gives audiences the welcomed opportunity to see these previous A-list celebs back on the screen even though the film serves better as background noise than as a captivating love story. 

Mother of the Bride follows Lana (Shields), an unmarried successful medical researcher, as she travels to Thailand for her daughter Emma's (Cosgrove) spontaneous nuptials. Lana has yet to meet Emma’s fiance, RJ, or any of his relatives for that matter, and Lana is struggling to cope with the concept of losing her only child to another family. But, Lana’s anxieties take a turn when she discovers that she has a past with RJ’s father, Will, portrayed by Benjamin Bratt (Miss Congeniality), who broke her heart back when they were in college. Consequently, Lana must attempt to guide her only child through the stress of wedding planning while also struggling to deal with her own conflicting emotions for Will.

While Waters’ storyline fails to compel, the picturesque setting makes up for the lack of plot. The film's sense of escapism provides audiences the opportunity to explore beautiful Thailand, while also allowing them to gaze upon the icons of the 1980s and early 2000s. Among the list of revived celebs is millennial favorite Chad Michael Murray (Another Cinderella Story) who as Lucas causes more emotional turmoil for Lana as he openly pursues her in front of her panicked daughter and her chaotic ex. While the movie is fun and kitschy, the comedic elements struggle to land.  The physical humor appears cheap and the jokes lack originality, which leaves audiences with much to be desired from both the lead actors and the script. The final fragment working against Waters’ film is that Cosgrove’s character is absolutely insufferable. Emma’s budding career as a social media brand ambassador paints a surprisingly negative picture of the influencing space. Emma highlights issues that can appear within oneself when obsession over internet presence supersedes actual relationships, which presents an interesting conversation about who and what society chooses to put on a pedestal. Overall, Mother of the Bride is a great film for Hallmark fans looking for a fun mindless watch this summer, but if looking for cinematic prowess, one should look elsewhere. 

Target Score 3/10 -Mark Waters’ Mother of the Bride is a cringeworthy mess that remains watchable thanks to its celebrity cast and picturesque setting. Although the film lacks intrigue, it proves satisfactory if looking for mindless entertainment.