Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Mothers of the Bride airs tonight (5/10) @ 7:00 PM (ET) on UP TV. 

Synopsis (from the UP press release): When a young woman, adopted at birth, gets engaged, she decides this might be a good time to meet her birth mother.  Her adopted mother, so excited to plan her daughter’s wedding, is supportive…until she meets the birth mother, who is a hugely successful event planner. Cast: Stars Gail O’Grady (NYPD Blue), Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad) and Daniela Bobadilla (Anger Management)

Mini-Review: The original film comedy is part of UP’s day-long Mother’s Day salute to moms which  begins at 10:30 AM (ET) with the 1981 series sequel The Brady Girls Get Married, and it certainly fits the theme. While the film is a perfectly fine diversion, it doesn’t quite live up to its promising premise — delivering a few mild giggles when out-loud laughter seems within reach.

Still the cast is likable and it does put a new spin on the story of an adopted daughter’s search for her birth mother. Gail O’Grady and Betsy Brandt are both engaging as, respectively,  as adoptive mother Debra Wolf and biological mother Haley Snow of their engaged daughter Jenna (Daniela Bobadilla). The idea of having  the birth mother be a control-freaking event planner who seizes control of her daughter’s wedding plans is actually a funny idea. It’s just one that I think could have been played a lot funnier. And, yet, the funny thing is there are points where the film loses points for trying to hard to be funny. An example of that being when Haley uses her influence to get Jenna and her fiancé Christopher (Frank Cappello) on a cable TV show called Cake King. The Cake King is played by Scott Atkinson who makes every effort is made to project the sort of wackiness Martin Short conveyed in Father of the Bride but, instead, the scenes just fall a little short.

I would also like to have seen a little bit more detail to flesh out these characters. For instance, Gail O’Grady’s adoptive mother character works as a fundraiser for a charitable foundation that is floundering after the death of its major benefactor — but we never find out what exactly the charity does. Without more details, I wouldn’t give to it either.

And, like many of these UP romantic comedies, the men in these women’s lives seem to hail from a place called Bland City. Jenna’s fiancé is, of course, supportive and nice. Beyond that we know that, like Bobadilla’s character, he’s a teacher. That’s more than we learn about her adoptive dad (Roy Werner). If what he does for a living is even mentioned, I missed it. But he’s also nice and supportive — although in a bit that is actually amusing (but could have been played up more) he worries early on that Jenna’s search for her adoptive mother will lead to some down-on-her-luck soul who they’ll end up having to support financially. Of course, the joke is that she’s probably richer than they are.

It also seems weird how little emotion Haley shows when she reunited with the daughter she gave up for adoption years earlier — though that is addressed later in the film. But, as the film progresses, the butting-heads relationship between the moms, combined with the acknowledgement of the gift they have each given each other, is interesting to watch. Though, like the comedy, the dramatic scenes could have been just a tad stronger.

But my criticisms shouldn’t be taken to suggest that Mothers of the Bride is a bad film. It’s just, IMHO, doesn’t quite reach its potential.  Still, if you’re looking for a nice, easy-to-take entertainment to cap off your Mother’s Day weekend, Mothers of the Bride is recommended.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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