First and foremost: Guys, this IS NOT your average chick flick!!
Secondly: This film is rated “R”, so DO NOT TAKE CHILDREN TO THIS FILM.
Still with me? Good.
Here’s the (pretty darn convoluted) rundown of the setup: Alejandro (Barnes) is set to marry Missy (Seyfried) in a few days. Missy’s parents are less than excited that their darling daughter is marrying someone non-white. Racism isn’t usually funny, but it is when their biggest concern is their potentially “beige” grandchildren! Alejandro isn’t white, because was adopted from Columbia as a baby by Dan (De Niro) and Ellie (Keaton). They divorced years and years ago, but he never told his biological mother, Madonna (Patricia Rae), who’s flying all the way from Columbia with his biological sister Nuria (Ana Ayora) in tow. And Madonna is devoutly Catholic. So Alejandro asks Dan and Ellie to pretend they are still married while Madonna is in town. This upsets Dan’s girlfriend Bebe (Sarandon) and she takes off. Meanwhile, Alejandro’s older sister Lyla (Heigl) is going through an extremely rough spot with her husband, and the middle brother Jared (Grace) is a successful doctor who’s never “gone all the way” with anyone, though he’s got an admirer in Nuria, much to the chagrin of most everyone. Missy’s family is Catholic, so even though no one in Alejandro’s family is, he’s having to make concessions to appease Father Moinighan (William). It’s all pretty convoluted, and it gets even messier later on!
As for what makes it a non-chick-flick, and why you REALLY SHOULDN’T TAKE YOUR KIDS, here’s the skinny: The F-bomb is dropped more than a few times (though always to really good comedic effect). There’s a brief nude scene. A couple sexual situations. Very adult dialogue. VERY ADULT dialogue. As in THIS MOVIE IS RATED “R” FOR A REASON!!!
The Big Wedding was adapted from the French film “Mon frère se marie” which was about a Vietnamese boy adopted by a wealthy Swiss family. Same idea, different cultures. Directing our all-star-cast American version is Justin Zackham, back in the director’s chair for the 2nd time on a full-length feature. His directorial début was Going Greek in 2001. I’ve not seen it, so I can’t say how far he might have come, but I can say that this was one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a while. The timing was so spot on for basically everything, and there were some lines of dialogue I missed because everyone in the theater was laughing so loudly, and for so long!
Each star held their own, even the somewhat ignored Seyfried. I’ve been a longtime fan of Topher Grace, and I was not disappointed by his hilarious turn as the virgin gynecologist. Sarandon was particularly amazing as the I-only-eat-organic-food-but-am-really-funny-and-fantastic Bebe, a nice contrast to Keaton’s mom/ex-wife/weird smiler portrayal. Keaton was the weakest, I think, which is saying a lot of good stuff, because she’s was funny as all get out, too. She was just outshone by everyone else this time around. Especially De Niro as the weirdo dad who wants nothing more than a drink. And Robin Williams as the Catholic Priest was wonderful, even though he didn’t get a lot of screen time. Everyone really delivered, the scripting was pretty good, and there wasn’t a slow moment. It was laugh after laugh after laugh for the entire film.
For bucking the romantic comedy tradition, for a few tired jokes, and for being genuinely entertaining, I give The Big Wedding:
About The Big Wedding
Synopsis: The world’s very first prehistoric family goes on a road trip to an uncharted and fantastical world.
Directors: Justin Zackham
Writers: Justin Zackham (screenplay), Jean-Stéphane Bron & Karine Sudan (motion picture “Mon frère se marie”)
Stars: Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Katherine Heigl, Topher Grace, Amanda Seyfried, Ben Barnes and Robin Williams
Runtime: 90 Min