REVIEW: THE BIG WEDDING
SYNOPSIS: THE BIG WEDDING is an uproarious romantic comedy about a charmingly modern family trying to survive a weekend wedding celebration that has the potential to become a full blown family fiasco. To the amusement of their adult children and friends, long divorced couple Don and Ellie Griffin (De Niro and Keaton) are forced to play the happy couple for the sake of their adopted son's wedding after his ultra conservative biological mother unexpectedly decides to fly halfway across the world to attend. With all of the wedding guests looking on, the Griffins are hilariously forced to confront their past, present and future - and hopefully avoid killing each other in the process
REVIEW: Apparently “The Big Wedding” Americanizes a French story with an all-star cast that includes four Academy Award winners and boasts a list of other great talent. This gave Writer-director Justin Zackham (The Bucket List, 2007) one incredible asset at his disposal: Awesome casting. However, that is the extent to greatness of this flick. This off-beat comedy, at times, was extremely uncomfortable to watch; so much so that it was like stumbling upon one’s parents procreating, in the kitchen, while making dinner. Having said this, there are lots of laughs throughout, and all of the actors are skillful enough to move the story along… it’s just that they are just asked to do really stupid things, which one could considered to be less than becoming of their stature.
The eternally consistent Robert De Niro stars as a successful sculptor, blessed with a rich, complicated romantic history, in this flick. However, despite the star power he brings to the role, he seems to struggle with convincing audiences that his character makes sense in real-world terms. While risking my throwing in a spoiler, I have to say his horny sensualist character is smacked repeatedly, vomited upon at some point, and even endure a pratfall while attempting to perform cunnilingus on the Susan Sarandon’s character. I have to admit, this made for very uneasy viewing, more so than hilarious comedy. Such slapstick humiliations are more suitable to a pie-humping teenager in a sex comedy than a Hollywood giant, like De Niro. In other words, he’s hardly relatable to say the least. All the same, I highly doubt his choice in juvenile antics for this flick will hurt his film career, moving forward.
On the other hand, Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up, 2006) does bring the expected combination of poise and comedic fervor to her role as the disgruntled Lawyer/daughter of De Niro’s character. I've always appreciated her comedic timing and fearless, direct delivery in many of her previous roles, and this time is no different. In addition, Diane Keaton brings her natural comedic talents to the proceedings, while Sarandon acquits herself with saucy flair.
Needless to say, no one is bad in “The Big Wedding,” but no one is remotely believable, either. The inclusion of very well-known and much liked actors helps make this flick watchable, however, there is no concealing the fact that this is a weak, badly constructed and poorly executed comedy. The film suffers rather than benefits from an all-star cast, at least in the big scheme of things. Can you say ensemble comedy overload!?! This is certainly too much talent for such a disappointing storyline. In actuality, this comedy lacks one very important ingredient: a truly likable, or even mildly relatable, character. It certainly deserves three out of five stars for casting and comedy.
By Movi-Man Stan
MOVIE REVIEWS >>>