The Big Wedding

Director: Justin Zackman

Starring: Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace, Ben Barnes

Written by: Justin Zackman, (based on the motion picture Mon frère se marie) Jean-Stephane Bron and Karine Sudan

Running Time: 89 mins

Cert: 15

Release date: 29th May 2013

Sitting watching this painful romantic comedy, a question came over my mind as desperately fought sleep: What are so many talented screen actors doing in a disjointed and unfunny mess of a movie? Money was the obvious answer. Well if money is the root of all evil, then this is the devil incarnate!

Alejandro, a man adopted, is getting married to Missy. Alejandro’s original adopted parents, Don and Ellie, have been divorced for years and now Don lives with caterer and pug lover, Bebe. Alejandro’s birth mother, Madonna, is coming to the wedding; her first trip out of Columbia, with his sister, Nuria. Madonna, however, is a strict Catholic and has a passionate hatred for divorce and is under the impression that Don and Ellie are still married. To help ease the wedding, Don and Ellie agree to pretend to be married, while Bebe just does the catering.

Meanwhile, Alejandro’s adopted brother and sister, Jared and Lyla, have their own problems. Jared is a 30-year-old virgin who won’t give it up until he is fully in love and Lyla, a lawyer, has just broken up from her boyfriend and has a fear of babies because she can’t have any. Cue the comic possibilities!

Managed to keep up? Don’t worry, because writer/director Justin Zackman doesn’t really care if you do. Taking, as his source material, a little seen Swiss comedy, Mon frère se marie, he has given us a batch of set-ups to incidents that eventually get completed in the neatest and tidiest ways. So when we are told, early on, that Jared is a virgin, you know at some point in the movie that he will either try or will lose it (and I’m not giving away any plot spoilers here, this film is that transparent!)

It’s all well and good having an ensemble cast like this but if you have this much talent around you, give them something that works, or is interesting, or even remotely funny! And don’t give them lines that are littered with utterly unnecessary swearing and think it’s great comedy!. There is one point when Robert De Niro’s father, Don, calls Diane Keaton’s Ellie a C***. Oh the merriment! The wit!

Obviously aimed at the recent “older” rom-coms of late (see Hope Springs et al), this has all those obvious, only-in-Hollywood cliches. The family living in luxury on the edge of a lake with glorious scenery around them; all wearing creams and white and all acting like five year olds because “it’s funny watching old people do silly things!” No it’s not. We don’t want to see De Niro being punched or falling in a swimming pool fully clothed because it’s suppose to be funny. We want De Niro being witty with sharp one liners. We don’t want to see Diane Keaton, one of the finest comic actresses of our time, being wasted in a role that she can do with her eyes shut and not being funny. We want her to be funny. She’s Diane Keaton!

For good measure, we need an almost virginal looking bride-to-be. Let’s get Amanda Seyfried. She’s never played that part before! (Mamma Mia, anyone?) And we need a top female star who looks like a lawyer. Hey, Katherine Heigl is available! It doesn’t just tick the boxes, it actually draws the boxes with an old ruler!

There are a few moments that did managed to raise a smile and it’s a whole lot funnier than The Hangover Part III (but then, so is sticking needles in your eye!) but this is the laziest kind of film making going. Steal an idea from another film, lose all the comic possibilities in translations, get a cast of finely tuned actors and hope in hope that something will stick. Unfortunately, it doesn’t cut it anymore. You are going to have to do so much better to impress me.

As a final note and shows you how uninteresting this film is, the trivia notes on IMDB consists of two entries: Amanda Seyfried played a bride in the musical Mamma Mia! and this film will introduce Lionsgate’s newly redesigned opening logo. Need I say anything else.



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