Brooke Shields's New Movie Is #1 on Netflix—and It Feels Strangely Familiar...

I have thoughts

mother of the bride
Sasidis Sasisakulporn/Netflix

Watching cheesy rom-coms is my ultimate vice—especially when I need a pick-me-up. And since I've devoured my fair share of predictable love stories, I've grown familiar with the most common formulas. For instance, there's the opposites attract trope (like Hulu's The Hating Game), the familiar friends-turned-lovers tale (courtesy of When Harry Met Sally) and the ever-so-popular impostor storyline (like Love Hard).

More recently, though, I've noticed an uptick in wedding-themed rom-coms involving problematic parents—and often a love story between them. These parents are now getting more of the spotlight in wedding films in ways that are starting to feel formulaic. I do applaud this in theory, mainly because I'm way more fascinated by how the older generation navigates these rom-com-esque situations. But what I find so interesting is that many of these films feel like a variation of the same story: one that involves a stunning young couple, a lavish wedding ceremony and in-laws with a complicated history.

For instance, take Mother of the Bride. This breezy new rom-com—which is currently #1 on Netflix's top ten movies list—stars the fabulous Brooke Shields as a single mother who learns that her daughter will marry the son of an ex-boyfriend who ghosted her. She reluctantly agrees to support her daughter's decision, heads to a stunning resort in Thailand for the ceremony and—you guessed it—falls for her ex all over again. The feel-good film is riddled with familiar rom-com clichés, including at least one awkward shower scene and a cheeky montage. And while it's all light and fun, if you ask me, it feels like a film I've already seen multiple times. Not that this self-proclaimed rom-com fanatic is complaining (too much).

I was instantly reminded of Ticket to Paradise, where a mother (Julia Roberts) and her ex-husband (George Clooney) team up to stop their daughter from marrying a seaweed farmer in Bali (spoiler: romantic sparks begin to fly). Then there's Maybe I Do, where a happy couple introduces their parents to discuss marriage, only to find out that they already have a history. And I can't forget about the star-studded The Big Wedding, where two divorced parents agree to fake marriage as a favor to their engaged son on his wedding day.

ticket to paradise 2
Universal Pictures

They may not be exactly the same, but the meddling of parents (with a potential love story of their own) seems to be a common thread, and I suspect that this trend will continue for a while. Ticket to Paradise turned out to be a big box office hit in 2022, grossing $168 million worldwide and more recent streaming releases like You People (2023) have raked up enough views to dominate the top ten list. Add to this the successful history of older gems that tackle similar storylines, like Meet the Parents, which made a cool $330 million, and Monster-in-Law, which made $155 million.

So, why the fascination with boomer parents and in-laws when it comes to wedding flicks? In my humble opinion, it's because they're real, they're funny and they wield quite a bit of A-list star power. In-laws can create a breeding ground for chaos, awkwardness and conflict. They can clash over cultural differences and nitpick over wedding details. They can even put couples to the test and try to break up the engagement. And boy, is it entertaining to see how they approach these high-stress situations. Especially when those in-laws have a history or a dark past.

the big wedding

Another reason I suspect this trend is on the rise? These movies actually resonate, on some level, with the people who have lived it. Be it a mother who learned about her daughter's engagement at the very last minute or a daughter whose dad can't seem to find any common ground with her in-laws. Sure, the depictions aren't always accurate, but I'm guessing there are real-life in-laws out there who can see themselves in the characters.

As for me—I just live for the chaos and the cheesy romantic moments. So I won't complain if when I see yet another cookie-cutter rom-com about overprotective parents. Like I said, it's my ultimate vice.

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nakeisha campbell bio

Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Nakeisha has been interviewing celebrities and covering all things entertainment for over 8 years, but she has also written on a wide range of topics, like career...