Ensemble comedies, especially ensemble romantic comedies, are hard to pull off. It seems that for every Love Actually there are at least a handful of Valentine’s Days. But I keep going to them anyway, because when they work – when they end up funny and cute and not too obviously contrived – then they’re a great time. That’s why I picked Big Wedding over Oblivion this week.
The adopted son of a divorced couple asks his parents to pretend to be married again during the weekend of his wedding to avoid offending his biological mother.
The premise is pretty ridiculous – it strains credibility that his parents would put on this whole charade to help their son lie about something so trivial – but when it came down to execution it worked. The Big Wedding was cute, it was funny, and my mom and I had a great time watching it.
If I have one complaint about The Big Wedding it’s that the trailers were really vague on how everyone is connected to each other. They made it seem like it was HER mother who was super Catholic and might be offended by his parents’ divorce. But here’s how it really is. Alejandro (Ben Barnes) is the adopted son of Ellie (Diane Keaton) and Don (Robert DeNiro) who are divorced. Don is shacked up with Ellie’s best friend Bebe (Susan Sarandon), who has the funniest lines in the movie.
Today’s special is meat stuffed with blue cheese and a defibrillator.
Alejandro’s biological mother Madonna (Patricia Rae) and sister Nuria (Ana Ayora) are coming to the wedding, are super Catholic, and *may* be offended by divorce, so Alejandro asks his parents to pretend they’re still married. That’s much more reasonable than simply explaining the situation to his mother, who holds no sway over the proceedings, right?
We have come to inspect the appropriateness of your living situation… after 20 years.
Anyway you might ask why bring adoption into it when Alejandro’s fiancée Missy (Amanda Seyfried) surely has parents that can be used for this purpose? She does, but the movie felt that Barry (David Rasche) and Muffin (Christine Ebersole) would be put to better use being racist.
So let’s all mourn the fact that my grandbabies will be beige.
Another reason to introduce the adoption factor is that all the extra parents come in handy later during the big showdown when it is revealed (in front of the entire wedding assembly, naturally) that everyone has slept with practically everyone else in the movie.
Ha ha… so…. that’s our story…. now who’s ready for a WEDDING!?
Other non-adultry related subplots include Alejandro’s siblings Lyla (Katherine Heigl) and Jared (Topher Grace). Jared is a virgin horn-dog who is making a play for Alejandro’s nymphomaniac sister and Lyla is in a fight with her husband because she can’t get pregnant and is mad at her dad over the whole shacking up with her mom’s best friend thing.
Yup, we’re totally playing our stereotypes: the doofus and the bitch.
Oh, and Robin Williams is in this movie as the priest. This is shades of License to Wed, but I think we’d all prefer to forget that movie exists. Thankfully Robin Williams doesn’t go completely over the top and try to steal the show.
Sadly, the director won’t let me dress as a penguin or make balloon animals.
So, in short, The Big Wedding is the REAL It’s Complicated, which makes things difficult for Alejandro and Missy, the uber-cute, perfectly perfect couple who are just trying to have a perfectly perfect wedding prior to making the world’s most adorable babies.
Honey, do you ever worry our combined adorableness will open a black hole
in my womb that will suck in the earth?
Now, this much cuteness and madcap theatrics may turn a lot of you off, as will the contrived and ridiculous premise. It’s almost like a Shakespeare comedy, that’s how nutty it gets. On another week, it might have turned me off too (I doubt it, because it’s Ben Barnes, but it’s a theoretical possibility). But I had a lousy week and this movie was the perfect pick-me-up. So I would recommend it to you, also, if you need something light and funny to chase the shadows away.