‘Mother Of The Bride’ Netflix Review: Social Media & Lost Love Make For A Predictable But Unusual Rom-Com


With each passing release, people are coming to the realization that, barring the tentpole films and shows, Netflix is in the business of making stuff that is meant to be used for background noise. And this practice is most apparent if you take a look at its romance or romantic-comedy catalog. Dan Levy’s directorial debut, Good Grief, was a whole lot of nothing in the name of processing grief and whatnot. Players was quite enjoyable but easily forgettable. Irish Wish had an interesting premise that was squandered within the first 15 minutes of its running time. I don’t know where to even start with The Tearsmith. Now Mother of the Bride has joined this illustrious list, and its storytelling isn’t actually the most depressing thing about it.

Mark Waters (who once made movies like Freaky Friday, Mean Girls, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, and Mr. Popper’s Penguins) and Robin Bernheim (who is known for his work in Macgyver, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Men in Black: The Series, and Star Trek: Voyager) have worked together on a Netflix film called Mother of the Bride. Emma is a social media influencer. She is engaged to RJ, who is in marketing, I suppose. RJ’s father, Will, is also probably some kind of marketing magnate. Emma’s mother, Lana, is a scientist. However, Lana and Will are old flames who went through a brutal breakup when they were teens. Lana suspects that RJ has been imbued with Will’s qualities and that he is going to break her daughter’s heart. In addition to that, she starts falling in love with Will again. And I don’t think you have to be an expert to see where this is going.

Waters and Bernheim are (or were) synonymous with crafting twisted stories. That was their bread and butter. But, in the 2020s, since the very definition of “bread and butter” has changed, their wackiness is being limited to stuff like Mother of the Bride. The only interesting thing about the whole movie is how the rekindling of the old flames overshadows the carefully crafted, social-media-friendly marriage ceremony of the young couple. It is relevant because most weddings have become more about how they’re going to look on social media platforms and less about whether or not the families of the bride and groom are comfortable and having fun. And the topic has so much room for exploration because the burgeoning wedding business continues to expand and gets more and more insidious. However, Bernheim plays it so safe that the core of the plot and the primary themes of the film get watered down until there’s nothing impressionable about it.

As mentioned before, the visual storytelling in Mother of the Bride is awful. But its aesthetics are actually a symptom of a larger problem. At the risk of sounding like somebody’s grandfather, older, lighthearted rom-coms and romantic dramas were made with so much care that they still hold up to this day. Indian movies set in the romance genre still swing for the fences so that, at the very least, the audiences are so entertained that they forget about the nuances of the plot. Take, for example, Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani, which is quite similar to Mother of the Bride, because in that film, the young couple who is about to get married realizes that their respective grandparents are ex-lovers. Despite the unusual nature of the premise, it’s chock full of lavish sets, gorgeous song-and-dance sequences, and beautiful costumes—all of which are captured in dynamic and interesting ways. In stark contrast to that, Waters’ filmmaking has no flair or imagination. And I feel sad to say this about someone who has made Freaky Friday, Mean Girls, and The Spiderwick Chronicles.

Mother of the Bride‘s cast is fine, I guess. It’s no surprise that Benjamin Bratt and Brooke Shields end up stealing everyone’s thunder. Bratt is 60 years old, and that man oozes charisma and style like the day he stole everyone’s hearts in Miss Congeniality. Shields garnered world-wide fame after the release of The Blue Lagoon, and it’s so great to see her run circles around her younger co-stars. The chemistry between Bratt and Shields is honestly the only saving grace of the film, and, to be honest, I would’ve taken a straightforward, no-frills romantic film featuring these two over this horribly directed film that’s being powered by a hollow script. Miranda Cosgrove is extremely one-note. The same can be said about Sean Teale. I guess Chad Michael Murray and Dalip Sondhi were cast in those nothingburger roles to look good, and, well, they got the job done. Rachael Harris, Wilson Cruz, and Michael McDonald are fun. Tasneem Roc is excellent as the fascist wedding organizer. A better movie would’ve allowed her to go off the rails (in an amusing way) to make her role one of the most memorable aspects of the viewing experience.

It’s wild that despite ending on a scandalous note, Mother of the Bride concludes with a huge celebration of love. I don’t want to explicitly spoil anything, but I think if you make a wild guess, you’ll correctly predict what happens to Lana, Emma, Will, and RJ. Emma actually sets up the potential for bizarreness if the couples end up getting together. And then it’s never brought up again. Is this some bizarre attempt at being progressive and whatnot? I don’t know. Well, if all the iCarly fans somehow end up making this movie a massive success, thereby greenlighting a sequel, I suppose we’ll get to know why the characters and the filmmakers are seemingly okay with [spoiler alert] incest. Is that reason enough to give this movie a watch? No, I don’t think so. You are better off watching Waters’ earlier works or Rocky aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani. If you know about any other films where the in-laws fall in love with each other at the wedding of their respective children, feel free to let us know so that we can watch anything other than bland-as-hell romantic comedies like Mother of the Bride.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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