A portrait of parenthood that’s apt to turn one into an ardent advocate of contraception, Motherhood portrays such shrill, mopey and all-around unpleasant adults that it’s hard to believe any of them found procreative partners. Dieckmann’s film charts an insane day in the life of Eliza (Thurman), a stressed Manhattanite and messy-haired mother of two. She’s the kind of urban mom who struggles to simultaneously plan her daughter’s sixth birthday party and realize her back-burnered writerly ambitions by nabbing a columnist gig at a parenting magazine.
Before Eliza can climactically pen her magnum opus about the true meaning of mommydom, however, she must endure trials by maternal fire. These involve child chauffeuring; navigating alternate-side-of-the-street parking rules; coping with a film production crew on her block (the horror!); contemplating an affair with a hunky bike messenger; and blogging about her friend (Driver) who self-gratifies with a bath toy. Dieckmann ostensibly intends for these escapades to be both riotous and revealing. Yet the tone isn’t jovial so much as smug and condescending, with everyone from Thurman’s whiny matriarch to her distant husband (Edwards) turning into ugly caricatures. It’s a judgmental tale whose only payoff is carpe diem drivel.