‘Otherhood’ Reminds us why Angela Bassett is Still a NYC Queen

My mother-in-law was in NYC for a visit this past weekend. The topically tough choice of deciding what Netflix joint to put on turned into an easy call once we remembered Otherhood had just dropped. Starring Angela Bassett, Patricia Arquette, and Felicity Huffman as mothers whose children have left the nest, Otherhood is a comedy just right for a nothing afternoon. I kept an open mind but my expectations were real low after the opening scene where a young man hypes himself up to propose to a young woman, only to turn around to see her snuggled up with another dude. I knew what it was from jump, but what I didn’t know was how much Angela Bassett would steal the show.

Don’t go to IMDb to check if this movie is worth watching, because you’ll be as disappointed as a Marvel fan watching MIB International. Littered with bad jokes, corny one-liners and predictable writing, Otherhood embraces its cliches in order to deliver on the heart. Now, I’m not saying you’ll be caught up in your feels or bawling midway through, but I can most certainly see this movie winding up as a Mother’s Day favorite each year.

Mother’s Day on the Town

After deciding to take their motherly talents to their son’s front doors, reserved Carol (Bassett), meddling Gillian (Patricia Arquette), and boozy Helen (Felicity Huffman) venture into the concrete jungle of discontent and discovery. Each mother has their own strained relationship with their respective son. It all comes to a head when they decide to show up uninvited to mend the fractured bonds that have relegated them to text-only relationships on the most sacred holiday.

I was glad to see Bassett wind up with the most screen time out of everyone in this well-put-together cast. Her son Matt, played by the lovable Sinqua Walls, is your typical tall, dark and seductive bachelor living in a SoHo apartment. When Carol comes to town, it’s a hilarious series of ill-advised hookups that she gladly interrupts. She also slyly dodges insults and drunken nights, and owns every dance floor rocking in a 3AM pizza devouring way. But by movie’s end, it’s her own life that needs reevaluating, not the mother-son connection that will inevitably be mended.

If you’re a mother looking for a relatable movie to pass the time, Otherhood shouldn’t disappoint. If you’re a son interested in what this whole maternal instinct is about, you could learn a thing or two by watching this one. If you want to check out some pretty damn authentic representation of NYC after dark, give this joint a spin. Lastly, if you simply want to roll your eyes at some bad punchlines, laugh at some awkward interactions, or see Angela Bassett crush every scene that she’s in, Netflix has the goods, just don’t expect too much.

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  • Ja-Quan is a NYC teacher and artist holding a B.A. in Sociology and History from SUNY New Paltz. On his journey to become Hokage, the Lord of The Speed Force and Protector of the Recaps can be found North of The Wall, chopping it up on Twitter @OGquankinobi

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