“Mothers and Daughters”: Yet another disappointing movie trying to cash in on Mother’s Day with a strong cast acting out melodramatic clichés. 1.5 stars out of 4.
Just what did the moms of America do to deserve not only the “Mother’s Day” movie, but now “Mothers and Daughters,” a film that might have been rejected by the Lifetime channel for being too heavy-handed? Like the Garry Marshall film that opened last week, “Mothers and Daughters” is a glossy-looking assortment of interlocking stories, in which we learn important lessons like “mothers come in all shapes and sizes,” and wonder why every character — even the ones who are financially struggling, physically ill or overwhelmingly busy — has truly spectacular hair.
At the film’s center is Rigby Gray (Selma Blair), a photographer and Hip Single Manhattanite (you can practically see the capital letters on screen) who finds herself facing an unexpected pregnancy. Through her, we meet an assortment of other mothers and daughters: Beth (Courteney Cox), who’s just revealed a bombshell secret to Becca (Christina Ricci); Gayle (Eva Amurri Martino), who argues about finances with her estranged mother Millie (Susan Sarandon); Layla (Alexandra Daniels), who argues about her future with her “Devil Wears Prada”-ish mother Nina (Sharon Stone); and Georgina (Mira Sorvino), a “haute couture bra collection” designer with a secret connection to another character that you’ll figure out almost instantly. Oh, there are some men in the film, too (including a fantasy OB/GYN!); they’re quite interchangeable, and all nicely coifed.
Because so few movies focus on stories about women, it’s incredibly frustrating to see this strong cast drifting away on a tide of soap bubbles — there’s no movie here, just scene after scene of melodramatic cliché. (It differs from “Mother’s Day” primarily in that you see the low indie budget in every scene; all the characters live in dwellings that resemble a vacant home “staged” for sale.) Stone has a nice scene toward the end, where she manages to be both warm and wry, and it’s a pleasure seeing real-life mother/daughter duo Martino and Sarandon spar in their one scene together, their matching brown eyes popping.
Movie Review ★½
‘Mothers and Daughters,’ with Selma Blair, Courteney Cox, Christina Ricci, Sharon Stone, Mira Sorvino, Eva Amurri Martino, Alexandra Daniels, Susan Sarandon. Directed by Paul Duddridge, from a screenplay by Paige Cameron. 90 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences. Varsity.
Otherwise, toss this one on the pile with “Mother’s Day”; it will be, like its sister film, quickly forgotten.
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