Film Review: Brooke Shields and Benjamin Bratt Deserve Better Than Netflix’s ‘Mother of the Bride’

Romantic comedies seem to be stuck in a destination wedding loop. Whether it’s due to a post-COVID yearning for travel or simply a strategic choice for producers, the setting has become a tired trope. Films like “Ticket to Paradise,” “Anyone But You,” “Shotgun Wedding,” and now Netflix’s “Mother of the Bride” are all falling into this pattern.

However, the issue runs deeper than just the setting. No amount of picturesque locations or attractive actors can compensate for a lackluster story. In today’s age of Instagram influencers flaunting extravagant lifestyles, the allure of exotic travel in films is dwindling. Additionally, recent TV shows like “White Lotus” have both celebrated and critiqued this lifestyle, further diminishing its appeal.

“Mother of the Bride,” now available on Netflix, explores the scenario where a mother (Brooke Shields) discovers that her daughter is marrying the son of her college sweetheart (Benjamin Bratt). Set against the backdrop of a wedding in Phuket, Thailand, the film unfolds with predictable romantic comedy tropes: chance encounters, misunderstandings, and awkward situations.

While romantic comedies often rely on silly setups, they can still succeed with a witty script and genuine emotions. Classics like “Sabrina” and “Sleepless in Seattle” demonstrate this. Unfortunately, “Mother of the Bride” falls short in this regard. Despite the efforts of seasoned professionals like screenwriter Robin Bernheim Burger and director Mark Waters, the film feels contrived from the start.

The plot raises numerous questions and inconsistencies, leaving viewers skeptical. From the characters’ unrealistic lifestyles to the forced inclusion of a wedding subplot, the film struggles to suspend disbelief. Even talented actors like Shields and Bratt can’t save it from feeling like a mishmash of recycled rom-com clichés.

Ultimately, “Mother of the Bride” lacks the charm and originality needed to stand out in the crowded romantic comedy genre. While it may entertain some viewers, it ultimately fails to leave a lasting impression.

“Mother of the Bride,” now streaming on Netflix, is rated TV-PG and has a runtime of 90 minutes.

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