‘Mother of the Bride’ movie review: Brooke Shields anchors this formulaic, feel-good and frothy outing

Miranda Cosgrove as Emma and Brooke Shields as Lana in ‘Mother of the Bride’
| Photo Credit: Sasidis Sasisakulporn/Netflix

There is this to say of, no not blood and breath, that, as the poet said, gives a man a taste for death. Rom-coms, on the other hand, with their soaring music, good-looking people, meet-cute, fights and make-ups, probably give a person a taste for empty calories but can also envelop you in a fuzzy hug of predictability. And sometimes knowing what happens next is fine. We do not always want to be surprised by characters turning into cannibalistic killers from outer space — though that would also be fun.

So we have Emma (Miranda Cosgrove) who goes for dinner with her dishy boyfriend RJ (Sean Teale) at a fancy restaurant, to have him go down on one knee and propose. Emma giddily accepts before wondering how to break the news to her mother, Lana (Brooke Shields).

Cut to a lab and the white-coated Lana is efficiently fighting one of many fires and securing funding for another year for their cutting-edge research in genetics. As Lana graciously accepts congratulations from her many minions, she sees Emma waiting at the door. Emma was away in England for a year and is now back with a fiancé.

Mother of the Bride (English)

Director: Mark Waters

Cast: Brooke Shields, Miranda Cosgrove, Benjamin Bratt, Chad Michael Murray, Rachael Harris, Sean Teale, Wilson Cruz, Michael McDonald, Tasneem Roc, Dalip Sondhi

Runtime: 90 minutes

Storyline: An influencer’s wedding seems about to be derailed because of the history shared by the bride’s mum and groom’s dad… or maybe not

Though Lana is upset that Emma is not doing her graduation (Emma wants to develop her social media empire), she goes along with whatever will make Emma happy, which includes a destination wedding in Phuket that will power Emma’s socials through the stratosphere.

In Phuket, Lana realises to her horror that RJ’s (what is his name?) father, Will (Benjamin Bratt), is the man who broke her heart when they were students at Stanford. There are other uni mates including Lana’s best friend Janice (Rachael Harris), Scott (Wilson Cruz) and Clay (Michael McDonald) at Phuket.

Brooke Shields as Lana and Benjamin Bratt as Will in ‘Mother of the Bride’

Brooke Shields as Lana and Benjamin Bratt as Will in ‘Mother of the Bride’

Through the fittings of bridesmaid’s dresses (that Lana insists make her look like Morticia Addams) and rehearsals, yoga and spa treatments, all under the direction of a scary wedding planner Camala (Tasneem Roc), with the sun, sand and sea providing picture-perfect backdrops, the characters figure out simple truths including the importance of family and second chances. There is a wedding, with suspiciously Hindi-film dance steps, a misheard phone conversation, the fall into a pool (twice), the walking in on a naked man and other familiarities.

Shields and Bratt shine bright, while the rest do their thing. Lucas (Chad Michael Murray), the hot doctor who has been “shamed” into taking a vacation, and Harley (Dalip Sondhi), who seems to help around the resort, provide eye candy.

Though Mother of the Bride is nowhere near Mark Waters’ Freaky Friday or Mean Girls, it is harmless, shallow, and frivolous fun.

Mother of the Bride is currently streaming on Netflix

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