Rue returns! Golden Girl McClanahan is back as “Mother of the Bride,” No. 3 in a series of goofy-gooey CBS vidpix about the matriarch of a dysfunctional family. Her “Golden Girls” fans may this time be joined by some younger nuptial wannabes.
Not simply a distaff remake of Disney’s remake “Father of the Bride,” this one brings more relatives, single parents, ex-spouses and clan crises into play.
Life is never easy for Margaret Becker (McClanahan), mother of five children ranging from grown-up to toddler — the latter with her new young hubby John (Ted Shackleford).
Daughter Anne (Anne Bobby) has decided to get hitched.
Mom starts planning an elaborate wedding that gets more elaborate when her ex-husband Richard (Paul Dooley) shows up.
Richard is persona non grata for ditching the family 20 years earlier, but he tries to buy his way back into their hearts by picking up the tab for the fanciest cake, wedding gown and reception hall.
The “reformed” family man also shows up at the bachelor party with a couple of hookers and thinks there’s nothing wrong with having a few cocktails when he’s baby-sitting.
Meanwhile, Margaret’s older daughter Mary (Kristy McNichol), an ex-nun, is falling for a long-haired guy with a motorcycle (Jeff Yagher). Every mother’s nightmare!
Writer Bart Baker pulls out every stop, and few beats go by without a teary emotional scene between two or more of the principals.
To his credit, Baker also leavens with humor that says, “Hey, it’s only a TV movie.”
Dooley’s masterful light touch adds most of the levity. Kooky Bobby and doe-eyed McNichol are the straight men, or women. Shackleford looks bewildered and McClanahan presides with maternal authority.
“Holidays are going to be something!” she gushes at the wedding, which sounds suspiciously like code for a sequel.