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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

May 17, 2013

The Big Wedding Movie Review: Its Big Stars Fail To Make The Film Work

ONE LOOK at its poster and you’d think “The Big Wedding” is a heartwarming family comedy like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” or “Father of the Bride” (both Spencer Tracy and Steve Martin versions), what with an assembly of big name stars in it like Robert de Niro, Diane Keaton, Robin Williams and Susan Sarandon (all Oscar winners), plus Katherine Heigl of the hit “Grey Anatomy” series, Amanda Seyfried of “Mamma Mia” and “Les Miz”, Ben Barnes of “Prince Caspian” and Topher Grace of “That 70s Show”.

The movie is based on a 2006 French hit, “My Brother is Getting Married”. It starts with Ellie (Diane) returning to their home after ten years of being separated from her sculptor husband, Don (Robert), who now lives in with her best friend, Bebe (Susan). She comes for the wedding of their adopted son, Alejandro (Ben) to Missy (Amanda). Alejandro’s biological mom, Madonna (Patricia Rae), is coming in from Colombia. A devout Catholic who doesn’t believe in divorce, Alejandro has made her believe that Don and Ellie are still living together as husband and wife.

Don and Ellie are then forced to pretend that they’re still married while Madonna is around for the wedding. Bebe has to scoot out of the house but returns later as a caterer for the wedding reception, leading to some supposedly funny consequences.

For added subplots to pad the narrative, we have Don and Ellie’s real children, Lyla (Katherine) and Jared (Topher). Lyla is a lawyer who can’t have kids but suddenly finds herself pregnant at a time she’s having a fight with her boyfriend. Jared is a doctor who remains a virgin at 30 and gets attracted to Alejandro’s biological sister (Ana Ayora) who also comes for the wedding and starts seducing him. Also around are Missy’s parents (David Rasche and Christine Ebersole), who have secrets and problems of their own, plus the priest who’d officiate wedding, Father Moinighan (Robin, his second time to play a priest after “License to Wed”). But despite the problems, this is meant to be a feel good movie so everyone is given his own happy ending with not only one but two weddings happening as the film makes a final fade.

Believe us when we tell you the narrative sounds more watchable when you read it from here than when you’re actually watching it on the big screen. Writer-Director Justine Zackham’s script is so dated and many situations lack wit, seeming like they have been lifted from past TV sitcoms. The actors are even made to do a lot of sex talk and are subjected to raunchy situations, but still to no avail. The truth is the movie is kind of humiliating for most of the performers, especially for De Niro after he just gave a masterful portrayal as the OCD dad in “Silver Linings Playbook”. This is such a big waste of talent, just like the star-studded junk, “Movie 43”, also shown recently.