Screenwriting 101: set your movie around a familiar life event – a birthday, a funeral, or in this case, a wedding. This is what they teach us when learning how to craft movies because it is a relatable starting point and has the potential for good conflict. Once in awhile, these amateur screenplays get produced and cast with big stars, and everyone involved agrees to participate because it’s an easy paycheck. It’s a lazy approach to filmmaking, and that’s exactly what “The Big Wedding” is – lazy. We have big stars like Robin Williams and Amanda Seyfried doing the exact same roles we’ve all seen them in before, accompanied by a generic script that tries to be edgy but is really just awkward. “The Big Wedding” also stars Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, and Katherine Heigl in this story about one broken family reuniting for a traditional family wedding.
A Broken Family Tries to Keep it Together
Don (Robert De Niro) and Ellie (Diane Keaton) are long divorced parents of Lyla (Katherine Heigl), Jared (Topher Grace), and their adopted son, Alejandro (Ben Barnes). Alejandro is getting married to Missy (Amanda Seyfried) and worries that his traditional birth-mother will look down at Don and Ellie’s divorced status. Don’s new partner, and Ellie’s former best friend Bebe (Susan Sarandon) complicates the scenario as Don and Ellie try to pretend that they’re still married for the sake of Alejandro. Past conflicts and emotions are brought up as this family tries to keep it together and learn about each other while Alejandro and Missy’s big day approaches.
You’ve Probably Seen This Movie Already
“The Big Wedding” is an adaptation of a French film (‘Mon Frere Se Marie”), and while I haven’t seen the original, it seems that Hollywood has modified the story to meet the generic romantic-comedy formula we’ve all come to expect. The fact that this film meets our expectations is exactly the problem, as it doesn’t even attempt to offer anything new in terms of characters, stories, or humour. It seems that a movie exactly like “The Big Wedding” comes out every year except it has a different title like “Made of Honour”, “27 Dresses”, or “Bride Wars”. The one exception to this structure in recent memory has been “Bridesmaids”, and here’s where “The Big Wedding” tries to change it up and fails. “The Big Wedding” wants to shock us with blunt sex jokes but they are badly misplaced in the context of this otherwise PG rom-com.
A Big Miss
I’m sure “The Big Wedding” will appeal to that middle-aged and over crowd that will also tune in when it’s playing during a daytime marathon on the “W” network a few years from now. Unfortunately for everyone else, it looks like this rom-com is a miss in this competitive summer box-office season. Save your money and your time and watch a classic film with De Niro kicking ass instead of going for the sensitive dad role. It’s ok Robert, we all have bills to pay now and then, so I’ll let this one go (just this once though).
My Rating: 4/10