“Mother of the Bride” Movie Review: Brooke Shields Plays The Mother In A Predictable Wedding Rom-Com

Mother Of The Bride Movie Review
Mother Of The Bride Movie Review 2024

With “Mother of the Bride,” Netflix manages to maintain a sense of warmth and humor in an overused genre of wedding rom-coms. The film is directed by Mark Waters (“Mean Girls”) and stars such popular actors as Brooke Shields (Lana) and Miranda Cosgrove (Emma). Moreover, Benjamin Bratt plays Emma’s future father-in-law with great charm, and Rachel Harris provides comic relief as Lana’s best friend. “Mother of the Bride” takes us on an emotional journey that explores the shenanigans of a mother who is dealing with her daughter’s wedding plans being upset by an unexpected occurrence!

The Story

The story starts with Emma and RJ as they enter a restaurant that is oddly empty. He surprises her, goes down on one knee, and asks her to marry him, to which she joyfully agrees. But instantly, her delight turns into anxiety because she has not disclosed this boyfriend or her new job with the large social media deal to her mother, Lana.

Emma goes to see Lana at work in San Francisco. Lana is a gifted scientist who feels very proud of herself. She is shocked, but she accepts her daughter’s news positively. However, going to Thailand for the wedding completely changes everything for Lana. She now gets shocked anew when she learns that Will, who was her college boyfriend, is about to become Emma’s father-in-law through marriage following their engagement.

Lana’s old heartache comes back to her as she wrestles with the issues of the past, which are now complicated by their current situation, and all this to make their children happy.

She feels left out on the eve of the wedding, as Emma’s company takes over everything. But it is strange how her small role stands out against this backdrop of grandiose wedding plans—lots of comedy can be created from this.

However, deep down inside, Lana is still struggling to put her broken ego into perspective vis-a-vis her desire to support her daughter, leading to a lot of mishaps and misconceptions. This aspect provides more complexity in the plot line through Lana’s interaction with Will and Lucas (Chad Michael Murray), a charming vacationing doctor attempting to create a hilariously clumsy love triangle.

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Directional and Technical Aspects

This is another of those cheesy Hallmark-like movies where the script could have really dug into deep mother-daughter relationships, but instead it centers on cheap jokes and awkward moments. Shields wiggles across in clothes that feel like they are made from thorn bushes and make her age gap yuck talk.

Emma and Lana’s strained relationship should be discussed here. For instance, Lana is trying to be encouraging even though Emma’s wedding has more to do with promotion for a resort company than family matters. This could have been deep, but the movie is filled with clichés such as misunderstandings, slapstick humor, and hunky men without shirts, among others. It is repetition, and we simply do not want to see it all over again, particularly when it is done so poorly. 

Quirky tales used to be the hallmark of Mark Waters and Robin Bernheim, but by the 2020s, their style had become more conventional in works such as “Mother of the Bride.” The only outstanding thing about the film is how it places old love ahead of carefully organized digitized wedding ceremonies for young couples. This clearly indicates that weddings have overemphasized online presence at the expense of comfort and pleasure for the families involved. The plot and themes of this movie are diluted, thus playing safe around a much larger issue, which is the influence of the expanding wedding industry.

Its visual storytelling has been poorly done in “Mother of the Bride,” and it is just one pointer towards something else bigger. The rom-coms or romantic dramas prior to these current ones were treated with care while being made, unlike present-day movies, which lack charm and originality. Waters’ filmmaking in this movie lacks panache and imagination, which was contrary to his previous works like “Freaky Friday,”  “Mean Girls,” and “The Spiderwick Chronicles.”

Actors Performance

The cast of Mother of the Bride is quite good. It has familiar names such as Brooke Shields, Benjamin Bratt, Chad Michael Murray, Rachael Harris, Wilson Cruz, and Michael McDonald. Shields and Bratt have done a great job with the silly physical comedy of the movie, and they seem like old friends, which helps to sell their characters’ past connections. However, sometimes they are not matched in terms of energy. In fact, Shields does an excellent job of projecting Lana’s deep emotions for Will, while Bratt’s portrayal of Will is shallow, even though he indicates having unresolved feelings.

Lana is always nervous, but Will is too laid-back. Though usually Bratt’s method of acting is good, he does not change his voice much, whether he speaks about towels or love. Of course, it may be pointed out that the script may not provide him with many opportunities, but even some comedies about beach weddings need to be taken seriously.

Shields puts a lot of emotion into Lana’s relationship with her daughter Emma, who is more concerned with pleasing the resort company than her own mother. Some cheesy lines aside, Shields and Cosgrove are able to depict a realistic mother-daughter bond marked by both affection and strain.

Cosgrove and Sean Teale, who play minor roles meant for igniting central romance but without overshadowing other characters, Their acting and chemistry were pretty underwhelming. Considering it’s the daughter’s wedding, the mother is outshone! 

On the screen, there’s charm brought about by Wilson Cruz and Michael McDonald, with the latter’s performance being quite enjoyable, even though it feels slightly out of place. Rachael Harris adds some comedy as Shields’ best friend, who always has a drink in her hand, thereby bringing some mischief. Chad Michael Murray’s role seems less important, thus detracting from the focus on reignited friendships, which remain the film’s true highlight.

Audience Appeal

Anybody who desires a feel-good, funny story will find the ‘Mother of the Bride’ movie perfect for them. The film is about family and love, which makes it universal. This one right here could be your thing if you are a person who loves familial bonds and cliched romcoms or stories concerning second chances in relationships.

It’s a warm, light-hearted movie with funny characters, which makes it great for an evening spent indoors at home. A movie that can cause laughter, make you nostalgic, and remind you that love can come to people of any age unexpectedly. Teenagers can watch “Mother of the Bride” because it has a PG-13 rating, meaning it is appropriate for whole families.

Final Thoughts

“Mother of the Bride” is a humorous escape, thanks to its warm tone and good cast. The film attempts to show family dynamics and the complexities of love with charm and wit (albeit failing in that area). While some moments may feel familiar, the movie maintains its appeal by balancing romance with comedy, even if genuine emotion is sort of missing. 

Despite many clichéd tropes and an overused plot, the film tries to capture the essence of familial bonds and the journey of rediscovering love later in life. Shields and Bratt deliver solid performances, while supporting actors like Rachael Harris and Michael McDonald add some humor to the story.

While the movie may not break new ground in the rom-com genre, its relatable characters and heartfelt moments make it a good watch for audiences of all ages. At least you can switch it on and run your errands, as it is not worth your full attention. Honestly, it’s better to just watch the director’s old and timeless hits like “Mean Girls,”  “Freaky Friday,” and “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” among many more.