First there was
, and now, in the third and hopefully final edition, veteran director Garry Marshall presents another star-studded ensemble comedy,
Fans of this comedy sub-genre will know what to expect; a formulaic series of interlinking stories led by a formidable cast of affable A-listers and recognisable extras, presumably drawn to the project by its director rather than script.
There are falling-outs, reconciliations and more happy endings than a fairy tale could muster, all wrapped up in a neat bow before the credits roll.
To enable the introduction of characters and storylines as efficiently as possible, little time is allotted to delivering character depth or motherhood insights.
Rather, we're presented the cliches of a divorced wife (Aniston) dealing with the news her ex-husband has married a younger woman, a young woman (Britt Robertson) adopted at birth, who is afraid to commit to marriage until she's met her biological mother, and sisters (Kate Hudson, Sarah Chalke) who hide the truth about their relationships from bigoted parents.
Mother's Day is more predictable than its predecessors but still relies on the charm of its cast to deliver momentum. Aniston, relegated to playing an older version of Rachel from Friends, is the divorced working mum-next-door we're supposed to sympathise with.
Her lovely kids, top-of-the-range activewear and relationship with her ex makes that a struggle, but she's fun to watch all the same. Julia Roberts, by contrast, takes on the role of a woman who's chosen a career as a shopping channel host over family, and is as immaculate and successful as she is unfulfilled.
It's a cardboard cut-out character, but Roberts makes it memorable by hitting the right tone emotionally and amusing us with her attempt to hold a baby for the first time.
It's the storyline without a mother that is the least irritating. Jason Sudeikis gives a nicely weighted performance as a widowed father of two girls, and is given the time to improvise and be funny - even if there's nothing new about a father buying feminine hygiene products for his teenage daughter.
The marketing boasts "touching moments and big laughs", and there are occasional scenes that conjure up a tear and throwaway lines that get a laugh, but unless you're a fan of Marshall's previous films, I'd suggest focusing on making your own memories this Mother's Day.
Review: Mother's Day
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts
Director: Garry Marshall
Running Time: 118 mins
Rating: M (Offensive language)
Verdict: Great cast, lousy script.