Movie Reviews

Mother Of The Bride Review: Brooke Shields Is Having A Great Time In Easy, Breezy Netflix Rom-Com

Summary

  • Mother of the Bride
    is a romantic comedy full of tropes, but it is also sweet and funny enough to work.
  • A stellar cast, led by Brooke Shields and Benjamin Bratt, shines in this lighthearted summer flick.
  • The film balances silliness and sincerity, offering an easy, breezy, enjoyable watch.



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A young woman living abroad gets engaged and surprises her mother with the news that she is getting married in a month — a destination wedding in Phuket, Thailand. Unbeknownst to both, the bride’s mother runs into her ex, and shenanigans ensue. Off the cuff, you would think this is the premise of Julia Roberts and George Clooney’s Ticket to Paradise. But no, the always amusing, same movie/different font curse strikes again with Netflix’s latest romantic comedy, Mother of The Bride, starring Brooke Shields and Benjamin Bratt.


Lana’s daughter Emma returns from abroad and drops a bombshell: she’s getting married. In Thailand. In a month! Things only get worse when Lana learns that the man who captured Emma’s heart is the son of the man who broke hers years ago.

Pros

  • Brooke Shields & Benjamin Bratt shine in their roles
  • The story can be fun and even sincere
Cons

  • Chad Michael Murray is miscast
  • There are too-silly moments and a concept the film barely explores

After starring in Netflix’s A Castle For Christmas (a better movie than this one), opposite the always dashing Cary Elwes, Shields is back in the seasonally appropriate Mother of the Bride. Do you want to get into the beachy vibe, take a vacation to a beautiful exotic location and stare at some impressively good-looking people? Netflix has the thing for you. Want a lightweight story about a mother-daughter relationship sprinkled with the trope of the good old-fashioned college romance that never flamed out? Then Mother of the Bride is just what you need.


Mother Of The Bride Is All Fluff

But it’s still a fun time


Mother of the Bride is riddled with tropes and archetypes, but somehow screenwriter Robin Berheim — who’s behind such hits as When Calls The Heart, all three The Princess Switch movies, and A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding — and director Mark Waters, who gave us Hall of Famers, Freaky Friday, Mean Girls and He’s All That, manage to make something that is just sweet and funny enough that what usually wouldn’t work does.

The key is in the film’s pacing; there is just enough of the wedding subplot to anchor the mother-daughter arc. iCarly‘s Miranda Cosgrove takes on that task with considerable ease, the unexpected reunion between the mother of the bride and the father of the groom is well managed (yes, their kids are the ones getting married and yes, you know how this ends already), and the filler featuring their friend group and a potential young fling for Shields’ character are sprinkled throughout in just the right portions.

While the film isn’t something I will eagerly watch repeatedly, it’s a good time, bringing the right balance of silly and fun.


Mother of the Bride’s success rests on the filmmakers’ abilities to not oversell anything and trust that the collective charisma of the assembled cast will do what it needs to do — and it does, though a flimsy script and one major miscast can be distracting.

A Fantastic Cast Shines In A Quietly Amusing Summer Flick

Mother of the Bride’s strength lies in its actors

Mother of the Bride’s cast is quite impressive, though I highly doubt the likes of Brooke Shields, Benjamin Bratt, Chad Michael Murray, Rachael Harris, Wilson Cruz, and Michael McDonald would give up a chance to have a vacation and do some light acting work in Thailand. Cosgrove and Sean Teale play nothing-burger characters; they are just there to be the catalyst for the central romance but do enough to not feel like a nuisance when they are the focus of a scene.


Cruz and McDonald are the kind of actors you are just happy to see, although McDonald acts as though he walked through the set of Halloween Kills and into Mother of the Bride without breaking character, he is still fun to watch. Cruz is always a joy, and he shines as someone who is meant to exude good vibes only. Harris, as Shields’ onscreen best friend, is comically and constantly nursing a drink in her hand, and she offers that I-am-the-mischievous-friend energy here that just feels right for a story about unexpected reunions.

Shields and Bratt are the dynamic duo I never knew I needed. Their chemistry is off the charts, but their most important contributions are their heartfelt performances.


The one glaring outlier in this ensemble is Murray. Although he was considered a heartthrob for some time, his presence in Mother of the Bride feels off. Also, the gag of Shields playing a woman who attracts a man half her age does not work when there is a mere 16-year age gap (58 and 42 is respectable). Additionally, Murray’s purpose in the story is not needed, especially when it takes away from the moments involving the former college friends reuniting, which are actually the film’s highlight.

Speaking of highlights, Shields and Bratt are the dynamic duo I never knew I needed. Their chemistry is off the charts, but their most important contributions are their heartfelt performances. There are much fewer shenanigans at play than in the aforementioned Ticket to Paradise, but there is a genuine sincerity in exploring former college lovers reconnecting as they near their golden years.

Their dynamic is sweet, humorous, and authentic. Honestly, I could see many people enjoying a light sitcom with Mother of the Bride’s cast, specifically Shields, Bratt, Harris, Cruz and McDonald. They make a formidable group of friends at a later stage in their lives who still engage with their youthful spirit.


Mother Of The Bride Strikes The Right Balance

Rachael Harris smiling in Mother of the Bride

Mother of the Bride’s story is silly, and it’s made sillier by the fact that the couple to be wed inadvertently reunites their respective widowed parents with “the one that got away.” The in-law/step-sibling situation here is hardly acknowledged, and while not an outright taboo, I couldn’t help but laugh at it. While the film isn’t something I will eagerly watch repeatedly, it’s a good time, bringing the right balance of silly and fun. The idyllic location is beautifully shot, the story is light and breezy, the performances are equally so, with actors who are a joy to watch.


Mother of the Bride
is now available to stream on Netflix.

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