Approaching age sixty, Daphne Wilder divorced when she was young, has not dated since, and has raised on her own and has fostered a close, loving relationship with her three daughters, Maggie, Mae and Milly, she now assisting Milly in her successful catering business. Daphne was mother of the bride for a first time at Maggie's wedding, and a second time at Mae's wedding, but she fears there won't be a third and final time for a Milly wedding in insecure Milly attracting only who seem to be the wrong men. Not wanting Milly to turn into another "alone" version of herself at age sixty, Daphne, without telling any of her daughters let alone Milly, decides to take matters into her own hands by placing a personal ad for a potential mate for Milly. Scheduling all seventeen interviews in succession at a restaurant, Daphne finds the ad has attracted one "loser" after another, until she reaches number seventeen, Jason, an architect who is handsome and seems smart, well-bred, successful and ...Written by
Hyperactively controlling Daphne (Diane Keaton) decides to fix her youngest daughter Milly (Mandy Moore) by finding her the perfect man via an on-line dating service ad that Milly knows nothing about. Enter stage right Jason (Tom Everett Scott) as the dashing, rich architect that Mom feels will surely love and provide for Milly, but is really awfully cold and totally not her style. Enter stage left Johnny (Gabriel Macht) as the charming musician who Daphne thinks has heartbreak written all over him and tries to deter at every step, but who totally adores Millyeven at her most ridiculous.
There is not much new and surprising here, and it is pretty obvious how it is all going to work out from the beginning. But there are some fun moments and some touching moments that do make the movie worthwhile.
Some of Daphne's "mother moments" will be familiar to all of us. I have that dress hanging in my closet that my mom insisted was perfect for me and bought for meand which my husband announced was a fat-lady-grandma-dress (my thoughts exactly) and I only wore once (sorry, Mom). However many small similarities we may find in passing, the whole Daphne/Milly love-hate relationship is really over the top. I would have moved to Alaska long ago if my mother rearranged my knick-knacks and furniture every time she came over. But how controlling Daphne can be is not really the point of the movie.
To me, this film was ultimately more about what it means to really love another person. Daphne calls her love for her daughters "impossible love" because it is so hard to let go and watch them head for the edge of a proverbial cliff and not to stop them. That's what she feels her meddling and messing is all aboutprotecting and nurturing them. But a love that does not respect the uniqueness of its object is missing out on something. As Daphne continues to push horribly inappropriate Jason at Milly, she seems to be ignoring her daughter's spirit. You have to wonder if she really knows her at all.
It can serve as a good lesson to mothers everywhere. Respect may be a more important gift to give our daughterseven than devoted love. Allowing them to stumble and find their own way is gut-wrenching, but as long as it is not really a life-and-death situation it may be best to let them fall and pick themselves back up again. It's as true of learning to ride a bike as of learning to navigate interpersonal relationships. Falling down is pretty much inevitable, but those who love you will be there to support you and help put you back on your feet.
We can't always be present for our children when sorrow hitsthough in this movie Daphne makes one heck of an attempt to beand it can be hard to watch them learn lessons we have already learned. By loving them honestly for their strengths and foibles we can be that port in the storm without also being one more roadblock and annoyance that needs to be overcome.
And what about those times when you can't be there at all? I'm just at the beginning of that journey with my own children. Personally, when life has knocked me down one way or another, I've consistently turned to an even bigger and more powerful parent than my mom or dad. I was raised to understand that my heritage is truly divine and that I can turn to the ultimate Father/Mother for support and comfort, even for direction, when I need it most. What's great about looking to divine Love for answers is that She always knows exactly what is best for meno ifs, ands, or buts about it.
As my own daughters strike out on their own more and more, I know that I will be putting them in the care of our mutual Parent one step at a time and teaching them this same lesson. I'll do my best to love, respect, and support them, but God will always follow through with the best care and direction for us all.
And Daphne does finally reach a greater understanding of respect and genuine, not spirit-choking, love for Milly. It's not divine, but any means, but it's better. Getting a life of her own probably helps. In the end, everyone is happy and in love, just as you knew they would be 90 minutes earlier.
The word "hilarious" was repeated often by my fellow movie-goers as we left the theater. That may be a bit of an overstatement. I definitely had some good laughs, but Daphne ends up wearing one too many cakes. It was often a bit slapstick for my taste, though the audience loved it. One of the best parts of the movie was Gabriel Machtas adorable as a Labrador puppyand will make the movie worth the ticket price for many a young lady.
Taking into account that this movie well earns its PG-13 rating for sexual situations, conversations, and innuendo, it rates high on the chick-flick meter for a good night out with the girls.
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