In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_american_sniper

American Sniper

American Sniper proves the dictum “never count an auteur out” by proving itself as Eastwood’s strongest directorial effort since 2009's underrated Invictus pretty much right…

Thumb_large_20ut2u5dmgl6szdu0adaq8u5zoc

The Interview

Opportunities at rich satire flatten out into Hangover dude-dope-doodoo jokes, where the premise is that there’s nothing funnier than watching over-privileged grown men act out…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Our Family Wedding

Our Family Wedding Movie Review
  |  

"Our Family Wedding" is a perfectly good idea for a comedy: A wedding between a Mexican-American woman and an African-American man leads to culture clash. The film, unfortunately, deals with the situation at the level of a middling sitcom. You almost miss the laugh track. Difficult problems are sidestepped, arguments are overacted, and there are three food fights involving wedding cakes. Well, two, actually, and the destruction of a third cake.

At the center of the wedding are Lucia Ramirez (America Ferrera), who was a law student at Columbia, and Marcus Boyd (Lance Gross), a Columbia med school graduate. They plan to move to Laos, where he will work with Doctors Without Borders. They've been living together, but keeping it a secret from her parents, because her mom (Diana Maria Riva) expects her to remain a virgin before marriage, and her father Miguel (Carlos Mencia) would be crushed if he learned she dropped out of law school. In a plot twist of startling originality, she is not pregnant.

A slimmed-down Forest Whitaker plays Marcus' father Brad, a popular Los Angeles all-night DJ. He's doing all right, and inhabits a huge house in the hills with a pool, stairs leading to a terrace, and a lawn big enough to hold a wedding party. Plus, his ride is a Jaguar. Not bad for an all-night DJ. Miguel is also well off, with his daughter at Columbia, a big luxurious house, and a passion for restoring classic cars. He owns a towing service, which is how he and Brad have a Meet Cute. All his drivers call in sick, so Miguel fills in, and he and Brad meet when he tows the Jag.

The dads meet again when their children pop the big news, and are immediately screaming insults and shaking each other by the throat. This scene, like all the stagy arguments between the fathers, is completely unconvincing. Their fights are drummed up for the purposes of the script. Their families flutter their hands and beg them to calm down. Their running feud feels phony to begin with, and painfully forced by the end.

All of the family difficulties seem trumped up. Although Lucia is terrified that her mother will discover she had sex before marriage, that revelation, when it comes, is almost a throwaway. Brad is embarrassed that his dad dates much younger women, but when he turns up at the family dinner with a girl who was Lucia's softball teammate, there's barely a mild stir. Lucia's grandmother faints when she sees her fiancé is a black man, but when she comes to, this is forgotten. (Didn't anyone tell her?) Oh, and speaking of softball, the game played between the two family teams is so badly staged I wasn't sure which side many of the players were on, nor who won the game.

The bright spots are America Ferrera, a cuddly beauty who plunges right in and kisses a guy without worrying about her makeup, and Lance Gross as the guy, who has a thankless task as the perfect fiance but doesn't overplay it. Regina King steals many scenes as Brad's longtime lawyer and secret admirer; her character is smart, focused and sympathetic. King's costumes showcase those Michelle Obama-like arms.

"Our Family Wedding" is a pleasant but inconsequential comedy, awkward for the actors, and contrived from beginning to end. Compare it with "Nothing Like the Holidays" (2008) to see how well a film can handle similar material.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Roger Moore's Best: "The Spy Who Loved Me"

An FFC comments on Roger Moore's best James Bond film, "The Spy Who Loved Me."

The Ten Best TV Programs of 2014

The best television programs of 2014.

Dear Angelina: Thoughts on "Cleopatra"

A letter to Angelina Jolie about the casting of her upcoming take on "Cleopatra."

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus