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Mother of the Bride

Content Caution



In Theaters


Home Release Date




Kennedy Unthank

Movie Review

When RJ proposed to Emma, she only had one concern: “How am I going to tell my mom?”

She was right to be a little concerned. After all, Emma had never even told her mom, Lana, that she and RJ were dating. But to Emma’s surprise, Lana takes the news rather well.

Then, Emma drops another bombshell on her mother: The wedding is in a month, at a resort in Phuket, Thailand. The wedding’s covered by Emma’s work, a large resort corporation that wants to use Emma’s ceremony to promote their resort and venue.

All things considered, Lana takes that information pretty well, too. In fact, Lana’s rather cool-headed when she arrives at the resort and meets RJ for the first time.

And that’s when she meets RJ’s father, Will. But unlike RJ, this isn’t the first time Lana’s met him.

In fact, unbeknownst to everyone, Lana and Will dated long ago, back when they were in college, before Will allegedly ghosted her out of the blue.

And when Lana sees Will again for the first time in decades … well, let’s just say she doesn’t take it well.

Positive Elements

Throughout the film, Lana gets quite a bit wrong. But to her credit, she does have a much-needed difficult conversation with Emma regarding the wedding. Emma has allowed her resort company to plan the entirety of the event as little more than a massive advertisement, and Emma is so focused on her job that she refuses to push back as decisions are made for her. They’ve even gotten rid of any reference to the charity Emma wanted to promote. But Lana reminds Emma that the wedding is hers, not her company’s, and encourages her to speak her mind.

Likewise, Lana and Will connect over the melancholy joy they feel about the wedding. They recognize that they’ve raised their children so well that they’re now “obsolete,” as Emma and Will can now take care of themselves. That moment of reflection on parenting is a high point in the film.

Lana says that Emma is “never going to be able to trust RJ,” despite how much Emma loves him. Because of her insecurities, Lana is convinced that RJ will treat Emma the same way RJ’s father treated her. However, when Emma voices her concerns to RJ, the groom reassures Emma that he has no doubts in his mind about his love for her.

Spiritual Elements

We see a massive statue of Buddha. Various people practice yoga. We hear a reference to fate.

A priest tells the wedding audience that marriage is a holy estate that is not to be entered into lightly. Lana tells Emma that Emma’s deceased father is with them in spirit. Lana sarcastically tells Emma that she is “literally about to marry the son of Satan.”

Sexual Content

Lana accidentally walks in on Will as he’s leaving the shower, and we see the naked man, his midsection covered by a hat. He’s also seen in boxers.

Lana, Will and other adults strip to go skinny dipping in the ocean. As they run into the water, we see them from behind, though the sunny water makes them appear as shadowy figures, making it hard to discern much. Later, they’re reprimanded by resort security for the stunt, and other guests and workers smile at them as they walk by, betraying how much they know.

Two men are gay partners and occasionally comment on the attractiveness of other men.

Emma’s aunt, Janice, fires off many sexual references. She objectifies a couple of men, as well as making crude jokes about the male anatomy and sex. Likewise, Lana makes a couple comments, such as having underwear that’s older than a potential date. Someone makes a joke about Lana’s rear. Lana asks Emma if the quick wedding is due to a pregnancy, and Emma denies that as the reason.

People are seen in swimsuits. A few women wear low-cut dresses. We hear a sly reference to STDs. RJ and Emma kiss.

[Spoiler Warning] Lana and Will kiss.

Violent Content

Lana hits a pickleball into Will’s crotch, causing him to collapse. Lana also accidentally crushes Will’s toe under a chair leg.

Crude or Profane Language

“A–,” “d–n,” “h—,” “p-ss” and “crap” are all used a handful of times. God’s name is used in vain 13 times. We hear the crude phrase, “Tore her a new one.”

Drug and Alcohol Content

Adults drink beer as they party on the beach. Janice gets drunk, and she later suffers a hangover. We hear reference to other alcohol, too, as well as underage drinking.

Other Negative Elements

Though she eventually pushes back a bit, Emma allows her work to take precedence over the romantic and familial elements of her wedding.

Lana leads on another potential date during her trip. Will and Lana’s selfishness causes problems for the bride and groom. Lana projects her own insecurities onto Emma, causing her to briefly doubt RJ’s faithfulness.


As any well-meaning bride and groom will tell you, the last thing they want on their wedding day is unnecessary drama. But in Mother of the Bride, that’s all RJ and Emma (and we, the viewers) get.

The Netflix movie is your standard romantic comedy. It’s clear from the first minutes of the film where the plot will end. And while I’m not one to instantly discount cookie-cutter stories like this one (I’ll even admit that I can even be a sucker for them), Mother of the Bride ranks quite low on my enjoyment list even in that category, for a variety of reasons.

The characters are uninteresting and underdeveloped. The token gay couple appears to be there for little purpose beyond getting the film an LGBT checkmark. The kooky aunt exists purely to objectify men and get intoxicated. Even RJ, the groom himself, is a background character at his own wedding.

These people all take a backseat for Lana and Will, our two main characters who could solve the majority of their issues with a five-minute conversation. And (perhaps this is my main grievance), I’m not a big fan of romantic films where the big conflict is due to the love interests wasting two hours bumbling around because they aren’t willing to have that inevitable mature talk about their miscommunication.

In terms of other content issues, though it’s blurry, there’s a bit of rear nudity, too. Likewise, there will be plenty of sexual quips thrown by the end of the film.

At best, I’ll send a blender or a copy of Codenames from the registry. But Mother of the Bride is one wedding invitation I’ll have to decline.

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Kennedy Unthank

Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics. He thinks the ending of Lost “wasn’t that bad.”