‘Mother Of The Bride’ Review: A Cliched Romantic Comedy Mired In With Nostalgia That Has Nothing New To Offer

Romantic films lately have come up with permutations and combinations of love stories about men and women and how they meet. It is usually these plot points that make any one film in this genre different from the others. The rest of the story remains the same, and just like that, such films get traction only for the romance part. The rest is just forgettable. The brand-new Netflix original Mother of the Bride, which was released on May 9th, 2024, is yet another addition to this genre. Just last week, Netflix Middle East released Honeymoonish, a Kuwaiti film about a newlywed couple trying to get along with each other after their shotgun wedding. 


Mother of the Bride, as the title suggests, is the story of Dr. Lana Winslow, one of the reputed researchers, who is worried about her only daughter Emily Winslow getting married to a man the mother has not even met. Emily is an up-and-coming social media influencer hoping to turn her wedding into a spectacle. She is sponsored by a hotel and their global team to turn the wedding into the most watched event in the hope of increasing the bride’s standing. Emily also plans to use this publicity to spread the word about her charity. 

Emma and her fiancé, RJ, are having a destination wedding in Phuket, Thailand. Dr. Lana reaches out to her friend Janice and finds out that the father of the groom is not a stranger to the ladies. Will Jackson and Lana Winslow were in a serious relationship years ago during their time in college, and it ended very abruptly. Both meet decades later at this wedding, only to realize they are about to become family. Amidst this awkward reunion of old lovers, Emma is being given a hard time by the brand manager of the hotel sponsoring her wedding for social media, and this begins to take a toll on her relationship with her mother and fiancé. Did Will and Lana reignite their old romance? Were they willing to have the closure talk to finally move on? Was Emma able to find a balance between what she wanted for a wedding and what the brand expected of her? Does this film make any sense to anybody?


The entire premise of the film could be summed up in one word: cliched. The story and screenplay are too cliched, and there is nothing new that the writers and directors have tried to do through this film and this genre. Romantic movies have a very simple plot and climax, and, in most cases, they are predictable as well. It is what lies in between the two ends of the film which makes or breaks it. It is always the screenplay and the story that make the film interesting enough to make the audience invest in it. The narrative in the movie is foreseeable, and the lack of engagement quality makes Mother of the Bride bland.

The movie felt more like a tourism advertisement for Phuket, Thailand, than an actual love story of two ex-lovers jolted by the fact that they could become family in a few days. The makers also added some culturally inappropriate elements to a scene that has a few characters practicing yoga. It is insensitive of the makers to add scenes of this kind and hope they will get away with it. The movie is very similar to Ticket to Paradise. The writers seem to have not invested much in making a movie that could be out of the box. The fact that they presented a story about the romance of the parents of the bride and groom takes the cringe to another level, and there is no return from that point on. This cannot be considered a spoiler because the climax of the film will make the audience question their sanity. The fact that the audience managed to sit through a film and be appalled by how the end of the film was written and presented. 


One of the very few takeaways from the movie could be that Brooke Shield’s effort as an executive producer to release love stories about women over the age of fifty could have a happy ending as well, unlike the narrative drawn by many films and shows in the past that projects women over the age of forty to be lepers and they could possibly never find themselves the right kind of partner. The drawback and the advantage of the film could be the simplicity with which it has been directed. There are no complex layers present in the screenplay or the characters written for the movie. They have a straightforward goal, which is to find answers to their digressions. The social media blowout wedding subplot was an unnecessary addition to the film, which resulted in the writers trying not to convey that the couple might go through a crisis because of Emma’s priority to make the wedding as per what the sponsors wanted. 

This subplot was abandoned halfway, and the writers moved towards making it about how the current generation and brands are social media obsessed. This subplot is merely touched upon and abandoned with some random stereotypes about the said obsession shared by Emma’s mother. The loopholes in the story will amaze the audience. The movie is supposed to be about the bonding the mother and daughter share during their days leading to the wedding, but their characters are written haphazardly, and the audience will not be able to get a hang of the strong relationship they claim to have. Romantic stories need to have actors that have an insane amount of chemistry between them. This will only be generated through a good screenplay and direction. Sadly, the chemistry between Will and Lana was nonexistent, as they had claimed to be deep in love decades ago. The subplot about how Dr. Lucas, who was several years younger than Dr. Lana, liked her deserved a better ending. It seems the writer introduced him as an obstacle, and the audience will end up sympathizing with him. Dr. Lucas deserved better than what he was put through.


The background score in the film is interesting as the makers added many remixed versions of the songs from twenty to thirty years ago, which is an excellent touch on the nostalgia element the writers are trying to build on. The performances of the actors could be considered average, as they are given nothing to work on. 

Benjamin Bratt has become a staple in every movie or show about an older man who is extremely good-looking. Hopefully, he will not get typecast, as she was last seen in AppleTV+’s Loot as a casual lover of Molly Wells. His acting skills are not tested, and that’s a tragedy. Brooke Shields as the mother stuck between being a parent figure and trying to not be dragged into the tactics of her old lover is just plain okay, and there is nothing extraordinary about the actress’ performance. Brooke Shields really needs to push the boundaries of her talents, and that will do wonders for her going forward. Chad Michael Murray as Lucas could have been explored further, as his inclusion feels like a waste. 


Mother of the Bride had the potential to become a series of films just like Father of the Bride, but sadly, the director Mark Waters and writer Robin Bernheim never ventured further beyond surface-level romance. 

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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