Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 04/26/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 04/26/2013 9:14 AM | Updates
Blame it on the Fockers.
After the critical and commercial success of Meet the Parents, Robert De Niro tried to milk laughs from lesser comedies. But certain things can't be milked. It's nearly tragic to see America's Greatest Living Actor on the guest list for The Big Wedding, the latest limp comedy about seniors behaving badly.
Although the title implies that this is a sentimental, special-occasion comedy like New Year's Eve (an all-star fiasco from which De Niro emerged relatively unscathed), it's more like a crass kinsman who pukes in the punchbowl. In his first scene, De Niro upchucks a half-dozen slang terms for oral sex, and it goes downhill from there.
De Niro plays Don, an inexplicably affluent sculptor who bungled his marriage to Ellie (Diane Keaton). After a 10-year spiritual odyssey overseas, Ellie returns for the wedding of their adopted Colombian son Alejandro (miscast British actor Ben Barnes) at the big lakeside home that Don now shares with Ellie's former friend Bebe (Susan Sarandon).
Three days before Alejandro is due to marry Melissa (romantic-comedy kiss of death Amanda Seyfried), he requests that his adoptive parents pretend to be married again for the benefit of his strictly Catholic biological mother, Madonna (Patricia Rae), who is on her way to the States for the first time. So on the flimsy basis of respecting the sensitivities of a stranger who doesn't speak English, Ellie moves into the house and Bebe moves out -- and then poses as a caterer to keep an eye on recovering-alcoholic Don.
As if that weren't sitcom-y enough, Ellie and Don have two other adult children: lawyer Lyla (the ubiquitous Katherine Heigl), whose marriage is faltering because she can't have children; and doctor Jared (Topher Grace), a 30-year-old virgin who develops funny feelings for Madonna's manhandling daughter Nuria (Ana Ayora).
Adapted from the 2006 comedy Mon frère se marie and credited to a neophyte writer/director named Justin Zackham, The Big Wedding doesn't have a single moment of recognizable humanity.
On the plus side, it's short, and Robin Williams as a racist priest is blessedly limited to an extended cameo.
Perhaps we'll get more of Williams, along with bickering bridesmaids and a flamboyant wedding planner, in the inevitable bonus-packed home video -- which would make the perfect wedding gift for someone you despise.
-- St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 26, 2013 D3
Updated on Friday, April 26, 2013 at 9:14 AM CDT: adds fact box
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Review: 'Men, Women & Children' doesn't click
Review: Moving story, simply told, in 'Good Lie'
4th filmmaker charged in Allman movie train crash
Kismet brought Kevin Kline to 'My Old Lady'
Suzanne Clement talks Xavier Dolan's 'Mommy'
Review: 'Gone Girl' delicious suburban noir
'Transformers: Age of Extinction' among new DVDs
Film academy hosts 1st exhibit in new museum site
'Men, Women and Children' aims to connect
Box office top 20: 'Equalizer' debuts with $34.1M
Justin Long faked Canadian accent as a kid
Dunst expanded 'floozy' role in 'January'
They did. They do. Clooney/Alamuddin wedding No. 2
Washington's 'The Equalizer' debuts with $35M
Gone Girl the anti-date movie
David Cronenberg pens debut novel, 'Consumed'
When going gets tough, a killer has got to be a killer
Colorado approves $5M incentive for Tarantino film
Grown-up grow-up movie asks meaningful questions
Stop-motion comedy thinks outside the box
2 American heavyweights frame NY Film Fest
'Amazing Race' host questions move to Friday
James Franco on work relationship with Scott Haze
Don't worry, try to find happy
New on DVD/VOD
Drones for moviemaking win FAA approval
Spike Lee honoured at Montreal Black Film fest
Canuck animator directs 'The Boxtrolls'
Review: 'Two Faces' builds tension, has nice cast
Dutch director George Sluizer dead at 82
'Pride' star Ben Schnetzer triumphs in U.K.