Mother’s Day

Director: Garry Marshall (2016)

I haven’t quite recovered my will to live after suffering this irredeemably awful comedy drama.

Along with Valentine’s Day (2010) and New Year’s Eve (2011), it’s the third in a trilogy of wasted talent. Julia Roberts and Jennifer Aniston are the notable victims this time round.

None of the films are related except in being based around a particular date and involving an absence of entertainment for the audience.

Similarly this features a pitiful parade of self obsessed souls vaguely connected by unlikely coincidences.

Mother’s Day is approaching and Aniston’s divorcee is arguing with her newly remarried ex about custody of their kids on the big day. Intimidated by their hot young step mum, Sandy has joined a gym.

It’s ran by a widower who is struggling to raise his kids. Jason Sudeikis is wildly miscast as the former marine master sergeant.

In an astonishingly misjudged attempt at inclusiveness, Kate Hudson’s racist redneck parents are unaware of her mixed race marriage and their other daughter is gay.

Unfunny British stand up comic Jack Whitehall is suitably cast as an unfunny British stand up comic. His girlfriend with whom he has a baby is reluctant to marry him. Clever girl.

It’s directed for want of a better description, by Garry Marshall, the person who helped propel Roberts to stardom in the superior in every way Pretty Woman (1990).

This feels like a big screen adaption of a much loathed TV show mistakenly released in to cinemas instead of being buried at midnight in an unmarked show business grave.

With nothing but contempt for its audience, this cheap looking collection of mawkish  platitudes is shabbily conceived, woefully written and shoddily edited.

Plus it features the worst game of ‘soccer’ ever committed to celluloid.

Mother’s Day is rare for being a female dominated movie headlined by two performers nearing 50 years old and supported by a third approaching 40.

This is exactly the sort of highly visible roles for older actresses which the industry, audiences and critics bemoan the lack of. The tragedy is in being an appallingly poor piece of work in which to showcase their talents.

Aniston and Roberts deliver typically professional performances of charm and warmth and no blame for this disaster can be landed at their feet. Their agents may need to carefully consider their futures.

While Roberts can look to her Oscar win for Erin Brockovich (2000) for consolation, Aniston’s search for a film role worthy of her talent continues.

Roberts was reportedly paid $3 million for four days work for her role as television shopping channel host. I should have been paid at least as much for watching.

Easily the worst film of 2016.

@ChrisHunneysett

 

The Angry Birds Movie

Director: Clay Kaytis & Fergal Reilly (2016)

After a history of plundering plays, books, games and toys for inspiration, Hollywood has gone the whole hog and made a film based on a smartphone app.

And though The Lego Movie (2014) is a great example of how unpromising material can inspire awesome cinema, this animated effort featuring birds fighting pigs is a bird-brained bore.

It’s bright, colourful, busy and noisy but far less fun than the game ever was.

Scenes eke out their jokes with violent slapstick for the little ones and sneering sarcasm for the teens. Plus there’s snot, wee, a multitude of wriggling bums and a bizarre singing cowboy sequence.

Jason Sudeikis voices the charmless Red, a lonely bird who gets angry when his feathers are ruffled.

He lives in a colony of cute flightless birds on a tropical island.

After a disastrous attempt at delivering a birthday cake, Red is sent to anger management class.

Because kids always find therapy jokes funny.

One day a steampunk pirate ship arrives with a crew of green pigs offering the trotter of friendship.

Red is given the bird by his compatriots when he questions the pigs motives.

He is proved right when the pigs kidnap the islander’s precious unhatched eggs. The swines.

So Red must come up with a plan and save the eggs’ bacon, without making a pigs ear of it and before their goose is cooked.

The soft boiled script relies heavily on crashing action and a scrambled mix of rap, rock and disco to capture the pointless freneticism of playing the game, but the tone is aggressive point scoring rather than giddy silliness.

And it all feels underdeveloped, presumably a consequence of trying to rush the movie into cinemas before everyone moves onto the next must-have gaming app. Oh dear.

Josh Gad and Danny McBride voice Chuck and Bomb. The former has super speed and the latter explodes.

Maya Rudolph irritates as Matilda the hippy psychologist and Sean Penn growls as a menacing over sized bird involved in a weird romantic subplot.

These pigging awful birds can flock off.