March 18, 2010

Our Unfortunately Clichéd Wedding Movie

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With the success of movies like My Big Fat Greek Wedding and My Best Friend’s Wedding, documenting the obstacles and joys associated with wedding planning has become a cinematic staple. Our Family Wedding, the latest addition to the genre, starts out promisingly as newly engaged couple Marcus Boyd and Lucia Ramirez (Lance Gross and America Ferrera, respectively) make plans to introduce their families at a fancy restaurant dinner. “Your parents are gonna love me,” Marcus says to Lucia. Lucia’s parents do love Marcus, the young couple gets married, lives happily ever after and the movie ends after about 10 minutes. Just kidding. What had the potential to be a charming addition to the wedding genre drags on for another hour and 25 minutes, belabored by tired plots and forced humor.

As it turns out, Lucia’s and Marcus’ fathers have already met, and they didn’t get off to a good start. Comedian Carlos Mencia plays Lucia’s father Miguel, a car repair shop owner, while Forest Whitaker is Marcus’ dad Brad, a divorced radio DJ who likes to date younger women. Miguel tows Brad’s car, they exchange petty racial insults and Miguel drives off with Brad’s car attached to his truck, Brad trying and failing to run after him. When the two dads meet again later that day, the discovery that their children plan to wed leaves them less than overjoyed, as you can imagine.

Marcus and Lucia want to get married in three weeks, before Marcus leaves for Doctors Without Borders, forcing the two reluctant families to come together to plan the wedding. What follows is a succession of storylines in which hilarity is supposed to ensue as a result of the dads’ bigotry and dislike for one another throughout the preparations. Their unrealistic and immature bickering is almost nonstop, and the film’s overuse of racial stereotypes misses its comedic mark.

Meanwhile, wedding planning leads to formulaic tension between the bride and groom to be. At one point Lucia suggests that she and Marcus cancel all their plans and get married in Vegas — it’s a wonder they don’t after being subjected to their fathers’ immature antics. “Our marriage, their wedding” becomes the couple’s mantra. It fails, however, to be a good enough explanation for their inability or disinclination to put a stop to the incessant fighting.

It’s somewhat of a relief when the film takes the occasional break from the squabbling dads, focusing instead on the developing relationship between Brad and his longtime lawyer and friend Angela, played winningly by Regina King, or on interactions between Lucia’s sarcastic tomboy sister and the rest of the cast. It’s somewhat horrifying when the film resorts to a goat running through the house after eating a bottle of Viagra pills as a last attempt at humor.

Although the film has a few poignant moments, it falls short of the comedic, insightful film it tries to be. As far as wedding movies go, it borrows clichés from other films — the drama of reception seating charts, cold feet on the part of the engaged couple — but fails to add more to the genre. Its talented cast deserves a much better script, and the wedding movie category deserves a more refreshing take on the subject.

Original Author: Maya Rajamani