Patricia Arquette, Felicity Huffman and Angela Bassett are three friends and mothers in Netflix's subpar comedy

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A trio of moms storm New York City to take back their relationships with their sons in "Otherhood," a wishy-washy comedy built on an uneven and unlikely premise. 

Gillian (Patricia Arquette), Helen (Felicity Huffman) and Carol (Angela Bassett) are mothers of boys who grew up together in Poughkeepsie and wound up making their way to the City. Feeling neglected on Mother's Day, the trio decides to head into New York, surprise their boys and remind them they need to be better sons.  

Not at all surprisingly, showing up unannounced is not received warmly. Gillian's son Daniel (Jake Hoffman) is just getting over a bad breakup and isn't in the mood for company, or sunlight. Helen's son Paul (Jake Lacy) has never fully been forgiven for not personally coming out as gay to his mother. And Carol's son Matt (Sinqua Walls) is living a bachelor lifestyle and doesn't have room for his mom to crash on the couch for a few days. 

Nevertheless, the three women persist and proceed to insert themselves into their sons' lives. "Mother is a verb," Gillian reasons. "It requires action." 

Sure, but the film's foolish conceit barely holds water, and everything in "Otherhood" —from the road trip to the forced bonding rituals to the inevitable revelations about the lives of the three central friends — feels forced and unnatural. (Also unnatural: the film's timing, since it was scheduled to be released near Mother's Day but was backed up due to Huffman's involvement in the college admissions scandal.) 

Co-writer and director Cindy Chupack, a former producer on "Sex and the City," fashions "Otherhood" as a modern ode to friendship and motherhood, but its gimmicks get in the way of its intentions.

'Otherhood'

GRADE: C

Rated R: for language, sexual references and brief nudity

Running time: 100 minutes

On Netflix 

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama   

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