I Watched Netflix’s Mother Of The Bride And I Don’t Get Why There’s So Much Hate Aimed At The Movie

 Brooke Shields and Miranda Cosgrove on the beach together in Mother of the Bride.
Brooke Shields and Miranda Cosgrove on the beach together in Mother of the Bride.

General Mother of the Bride spoilers can be found throughout this article. But some bigger movie ending stuff is discussed!

Netflix has really started competing in the rom-com genre in recent years, with some of the best rom-coms going on to bring fame to their starrers, including 2018’s Set it Up with Glen Powell, the Lindsay Lohan comeback Falling For Christmas and my personal favorite on the streamer Holidate. But not all of the rom-coms on Netflix are made alike and the latest from Brooke Shields, Benjamin Bratt, and Miranda Cosgrove, Mother of the Bride, has earned vitriol from critics and audiences alike. I just watched it, and I gotta say, I was not anticipating how much hate this movie got.

In fact, critics have been pretty brutal about the movie. It currently only has a 14% critical score on Rotten Tomatoes and the critics did not hold back in their (mostly) scathing reviews. See Exhibit A:

  • Natalie Winkelman (New York Times): “The best screwball gag this movie can muster is a pickleball shot to the groin.”

  • Lindsey Bahr (Associated Press): "I won’t go so far as to say that Mother of the Bride feels like an AI creation but it does feel at least a little stitched together from pieces of other romantic comedies of varying quality."

  • Jason Flatt (But Why Tho?): "Mother of the Bride could well be the movie that finally makes me swear off Netflix Original rom-coms for good.”

This is the rare case, too, where audiences seem to be in complete agreement with the critics about a movie. The audience score is a whopping 15%. I also happened upon Reddit and tweets from audience members that were just brutal, with some even claiming the movie was plotted so poorly, they smelled AI.

  • Afrina H Rotten Tomatoes Review: “The worst ending ever! Why would the parents get married when both of their childrens already married??!”

  • Jessica C Rotten Tomatoes Review: "Think Hallmark movie, but it’s not even good enough for that."

  • Jesse Thee Slade (X): "Mother of the Bride on Netflix is actually so bad and not even the good kind of bad. It’s giving AI script overloaded with social media references and pickleball. It’s complete brain mush and it’s exactly what I needed today."

As I said, it's brutal out there. But I really don't think this level of hate is warranted. Particularly given Mother of the Bride is being heavily watched in the US and is even beating Madame Web globally.

Listen, before you go off on me thinking I am not a movie critic who is a purveyor of fine taste, I think Mother of the Bride is fine. I find Brooke Shields to not be the most exciting fit for a rom-com, despite the fact she’s a regular on Hallmark and now Netflix. I also don’t enjoy anytime a couple gets engaged at someone else's wedding and Will and Lana absolutely muck that up for their respective children in the film.

Speaking of their respective children, one common theme I've noted among these poor reviews is that a lot of people feel icky about Lana (Brooke Shields) and Will (Benjamin Bratt) rekindling when their adult children are about to be -- and ultimately get-- married. This is obviously because that effectively makes their children both lovers and future step-siblings, though the timeline is wonky.

It’s weird, I’ll admit, and maybe not as carefully crafted as it could have been. For example, if I’d been writing this movie, I would have written the flick so that Emma (Miranda Cosgrove)’s parents split up and so that RJ (Sean Teale) lost his parents. That way Bratt could have come in as the fun uncle or someone who was RJ’s guardian. Then, even if he had dated Emma’s mom in college, the ick factor wouldn’t really be there. I'm just saying.

Instead the movie has Emma dealing with the loss of her father and RJ with the split parents and absentee mom, and there’s a whole future stepsiblings-getting-married component to the final scenes -- which is where the majority of the hate seems to be coming from. If I’m being honest, this messiness didn’t bother me a ton given the two adult children never lived in a household together and their parents rekindled afterward, but I get that piece of it. I just don’t personally feel this movie deserves this level of disgust.

In fact, I honestly liked that the focus of this movie is on Bratt’s Will and Shields’ Lana reconnecting. One other thing I liked about this movie was how real and unstuffy all of the older leads in the movie felt. They were successful, 50+ adults with ambitious jobs; yet, they’re just mucking around like the rest of us, goofing off playing pickleball and sometimes even getting caught skinny dipping when they shouldn’t. Will and Lana feel like real people with a sense of fun and it was the right call for the movie to focus more on their romantic narrative than the younger couple's.

I know I have my reservations about Shields, but she and Bratt do banter together well onscreen. Plus, Miranda Cosgrove's influencer lifestyle is a sharp and memorable contrast to the world her mother inhabits and brings needed tension to the movie outside of the main romance. Rachael Harris is well-cast as Lana's friend Janice after previously being a part of Netflix's Lucifer cast. And the movie is a perfect 90-minutes in length, so it doesn't overstay its welcome and is a perfectly nice movie to throw on during a lazy afternoon.

Again I’m not arguing Mother of the Bride will change your life. I’m not arguing it’s better than the admittedly similar Ticket to Paradise with Julia Roberts and George Clooney. But I do think that 14% Rotten Tomatoes score is probably not a fair shake.