There’s no mommy moment left untouched in "Motherhood," as the film takes on everything from playground politics to birthday parties to orgasms, and everything in between. From the do-it-all mom (Uma Thurman) to the absent-minded dad (Anthony Edwards) to the perfectly put-together mommy nemesis, even the characters are trite.

Motherhood is a juggling act of family, career, friends and marriage. It’s easy for moms to lose themselves as they put the needs of others before their own. It’s an endless cycle of obligation too often edging out ambition.


That’s why the mother in me could identify with some of the situations that Eliza Welch (Uma Thurman) finds herself struggling with in “Motherhood,” a slice-of-life tale of a frazzled mom experiencing one hellish day. Who hasn’t had an epic mommy meltdown when the balls in the air come crashing down?


The critic in me, however, thinks writer-director Katherine Dieckmann (“Diggers”) overindulges in a mother lode of child-rearing and motherhood stereotypes. There’s no mommy moment left untouched as Dieckmann’s script takes on everything from playground politics to birthday parties to orgasms, and everything in between. From the do-it-all mom (Thurman) to the absent-minded dad (Anthony Edwards) to the perfectly put-together mommy nemesis, even Dieckmann’s characters are trite.


These people certainly exist, but do they really converge in the same 24-hour orbit? In insisting on playing all the comedic angles of motherhood, Dieckmann nearly suffocates her film and certainly softens the strength of her message, which is you don’t have lose yourself because you have children.


The film speaks to certain truths – some days you don’t wash your hair and you mistakenly leave the house still in your pajamas. And there is truth to the struggle to re-define who you are, post-babies. As scene after scene comes and goes with Eliza in some sort of mothering disaster, be it in a confrontation on the playground or having a mommy meltdown driving through the Lincoln Tunnel, “Motherhood” feels like a one-trick pony. Each moment is the same, just a different setting.


Although the versatile Thurman plays Eliza with a good mix of charm and energy, the character is borderline annoying. She’s a stay-at-home mom who lives in Manhattan, in not one but two apartments, with her loyal but distracted husband and two children. She actually has an enviable life as she goes to sample sales, drops off and picks up her daughter from school and hangs out at the playground with her toddler son.


She’s a former fiction writer who is now a prisoner of her choices and therefore unfulfilled. Her only creative outlet is a mommy blog she pens called “The Bjorn Identity.” And that isn’t quelling her appetite to write, so she enters a “what does motherhood mean to you” writing contest. Deadline is midnight and before she writes her piece Eliza has a jam-packed day on tap, culminating with her daughter’s birthday party.


The day has unexpected bumps as her car gets towed (a funny scene that had Thurman close to going all “Kill Bill” on an aggressive driver); she forgets to pack a lunch for her daughter; and she fights with her best friend, Sheila (Minnie Driver). Driver, pregnant during the filming, is a riot in this movie, stealing every scene she’s in. In fact, she might have done a more believable job in the lead.


Dieckmann ultimately delivers a tightly edited, familiar story of maternal joy and woe. It’s pleasing, not profound and nonetheless a film that moms and moms-to-be will enjoy.


Dads, be warned: This is female-centric film, coming from a production team of all women. But don’t let that be a deterrent because “Motherhood” does shed some light on modern-day moms and the quest to have it all. You’ll just need to quickly run to the nearest sports bar afterward to keep your manhood in check.


MOTHERHOOD (PG-13 for language, sexual references and a brief drug comment.) Cast includes Uma Thurman, Anthony Edwards, Minnie Driver. 2 stars out of 4.


Reach Dana Barbuto at dbarbuto@ledger.com.