What is the worst franchise in Hollywood? Transformers? Alvin and the Chipmunks? Underworld? They’re all pretty crummy, but they pale before the abject awfulness of the unnamed franchise Garry Marshall’s been working on for the last couple years, where he takes a holiday everyone loves, cast a bunch of movie stars everyone loves, and puts them in a terrible, terrible movie that everyone hates (but which make a ton of money). First came Valentine’s Day featuring Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Biel, and Jamie Foxx, and it was bad. Then there was New Year’s Day, with Halle Berry, Katherine Heigl, Zac Efron, Michelle Pfeiffer, Hilary Swank, and Robert freaking De Niro and it was, somehow, much, much worse. Now Marshall’s reign of calendarian terror will continue with Mother’s Day.

Roberts will return for the film (Marshall directed her in her breakthrough, Pretty Woman, so I guess she kind of owes him) along with big-time stars Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, and Jason Sudeikis. Any combination of one or two of those actors would be enough to carry any other movie, but that’s the appeal of Marshall’s holiday films; they throw together a ton of stars, seemingly giving you more bang for your buck (but not too much bang for your buck, because these are still PG-13 movies). It’s a canny formula, as is the notion of centering a bunch of short, sweet romantic stories around a romantic holiday. But in practice they come off like a bunch of crummy threads that weren’t good enough to sustain a movie on their own woven together. It’s a relief to get away from, say, Jon Bon Jovi and Katherine Heigl arguing about their relationship, but then you have to go watch, say, Robert De Niro talk to Halle Berry about cancer.

Deadline says Mother’s Day will focus on “intertwining stories about the lives of several mothers as the title holiday approaches” from a screenplay by Anya Kochoff-Romano. After that, I predict Marshall will move on to the fourth-most romantic holiday on the calendar, President’s Day. That one should be pretty hot.

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