a scene from the movie 'Mother of the Bride'
a scene from the movie 'Mother of the Bride'

Past redemption

'Mother of the Bride' deviates from the iconic 2004 film, 'Father of the Bride', as it centres on the wedding of Emma and RJ in the exotic locale of Phuket, Thailand.

Don’t stop the press. It’s just Netflix coming out with another unoriginal rom-com, this time starring Brooke Shields and Miranda Cosgrove. 'Mother of the Bride', which comes from Mean Girls director Mark Waters, tries to offer a unique premise where first love is given a second chance. But the film’s characters, setting and narrative lack depth as it telegraphs its ending from the start.

Mother of the Bride deviates significantly from the iconic 2004 film, 'Father of the Bride', as it centres on the wedding of Emma (Cosgrove) and RJ (Sean Teale) in the exotic locale of Phuket, Thailand. The tranquility surrounding Dr Lana Winslow (Shields) is shattered when she discovers that RJ’s father is her long-lost college flame Will (Benjamin Bratt), who abruptly disappeared from her life. As tensions mount and old wounds resurface, Lana and Will navigate their complicated past while attempting to maintain peace for their children’s sake.

At first glance, 'Mother of the Bride' presents intriguing character dynamics. Lana is depicted as a dedicated research scientist, deeply immersed in her work. In stark contrast, her daughter Emma emerges as a social media influencer, leveraging her online presence to secure extravagant sponsorships for her wedding. Emma lets a luxury resort brand dictate every detail of the wedding, much to Lana’s disapproval. However, these promising conflicts fizzle out with underwhelming resolutions, leaving the characters underdeveloped and the film’s potential unfulfilled.

'Mother of the Bride' doesn’t explore its central romance either. While sparks fly and old feelings resurface, the interactions between Lana and Will lack depth. Yes, the eventual happily-ever-after ending is predictable, but the journey to get there feels rushed. Initially, when Emma gets to know the history between her mother and future father-in-law, she awkwardly jokes, “If RJ is my half-brother, then the wedding is off.”

However, as the possibility of Lana and Will reuniting arises, Emma’s eventual acceptance feels forced, and the film fails to capture the emotional range of such a situation. Similarly, Lana and Will quickly reconcile without adequately addressing the complexities of their past diminishing the film’s impact.

While Shields and Rachel Harris (as Lana’s sister Janice) shine in their roles, their talents are underutilised. Despite their presence, the film offers only limited scope for them to showcase their skills. While the film ends by delivering a message about second chances, the truth is, it itself doesn’t deserve one.

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The New Indian Express
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