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

 

Secret in Their Eyes

Director: Billy Ray (2016)

In my eyes there’s far too little mystery in this plodding political pot boiler.

The star of 12 Years A Slave (2014) Chiwetel Ejiofor is now 13 years an investigator, that’s the time his character Ray has spent hunting for a killer.

As talented as the public school educated British actor is, he fails to convince as a blue collar New York cop.

Ray’s convinced he’s found the man responsible for the murder of the daughter of former colleague Jess.

Julia Roberts performance has been described as ‘brave’, meaning she wears no make up.

To borrow Stephen Fry’s ungentlemanly phrase from the Baftas, she looks, albeit intentionally, like a bag lady.

Nicole Kidman’s glamorous District Attorney is reluctant to jeopardise her career by reopening the case on the basis Ray’s flimsy evidence.

There are corruption, confessions, chases, interrogations, break ins and some waffle about baseball.

The story switches between two years, most of what happens in 2002 lacks tension and 2015 is too concerned with Ray trying to resolve a romantic obsession.

The top drawer cast are on great form and none disappoint as in turn they’re granted the space to demonstrate their considerable ability.

But we’re not terribly invested in the characters and the script isn’t interested in the plot and moments of humour are misjudged as the cast strive to carry weighty themes.

Based on an Argentine film The Secret in Their Eyes (2009) it’s been heavily retooled for the American market.

There’s an effectively created mood of paranoia and uncertainty in the aftermath of 9/11.

Addressing the attacks’ effect on the American psyche, the script demands the US bury its grief and stop feeling guilty over allowing it to occur.

Arguing the US must in future deliver swift and terminal justice to wrong doers is an insular and biblical view point which may play better across the pond than over here.