A farce that fails to make it up the aisle

June 17th, 2013

This article is more than 11 years old.

Totally squandering the potential of its all-star cast, this more-com-than-rom ensemble flick is a brainless barrage of formulaic gags and jokes monotonously ridiculing out-groups of all stripes. Having witnessed DeNiro’s unstoppable attempts to dismantle his legacy by scrambling for daft supporting roles in New Year’s Eve and Little Fockers, why wasn’t I prepared for this auto-piloted outing? And even if I had been, how would I endorse Keaton’s cringeworthy, school-girlish turn as DeNiro’s zen-enthused ex-wife?

In fact, let me start with those two: Mr and Mrs Griffin. Now divorced, they married in the ‘70s, had two beautiful children (Heigl and Topher Grace) and adopted a third, Alejandro (Barnes), from Colombia. They remained friends after they divorced, so when Alejandro and his fiancée (Seyfried) are set to marry, there’s no doubt Mrs Griffin will be there. Incidentally, with this being the 21st century, Mr Griffin’s current partner, Bebe, (Susan Sarandon) doesn’t mind her presence at all. Unfortunately, Alejandro’s biological mother, en route from Colombia for the wedding, has an orthodox Catholic’s absolutely unforgiving opinion of divorce.

The film’s best stab at comedic innovativeness comes when Alejandro – who calls three women ‘mother’ and generally acts accordingly – comes up with the desperate scheme that his adoptive parents must pretend to still be married lest his Catholic mother throw a fit. Bebe, naturally enough, doesn’t relish the idea of surrendering the master bedroom to Mrs Griffin. But in honour of the betrothed couple, she agrees to endure it for a few days.

At this point the romantic tropes have been hammered home so unrelentingly that you’re not really surprised to see the entire cast engaging in nothing but calling up exes, going at it in bedrooms, comparing lengths of orgasms, skinny dipping seductively, getting morning sickness and confessing past affairs and repressed homosexuality. Because of the script’s intermittent moments of nuptial solemnity, Williams’ unfunny Catholic priest is never far away.

The Big Wedding is a remake of the 2006 French film My Brother is Getting Married (Mon frère se marie). For better or worse, the easy laughs and Farrelly brothers-esque screwball quality conceal that heritage damn near perfectly.

The Big Wedding (3)

Dir: Justin Zackham; US romcom, 2013, 96 mins; Robert DeNiro, Amanda Seyfried, Ben Barnes, Robin Williams, Diane Keaton

Premiered June 13

Playing nationwide



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