With a cast including Robin Williams, Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon and Diane Keaton there’s no doubting that ‘The Big Wedding’ has star power. Despite that though those people out there expecting a laugh fest in the vein of ‘Meet The Fockers’ are in for a surprise, because ‘The Big Wedding’ is more of a sensitive drama than full-on comedy.
The premise is simple, Alejeandro (Ben Barnes) and Melissa (Amanda Seyfried) are getting married, but their wedding weekend results in madness when Alejandro realizes he can’t tell his biological mother, Madonna (Patricia Rae) that his adopted parents Don (Robert De Niro) and Ellie (Diane Keaton) are divorced due to the fact that he has been lying to her for years. This in turn leads him to ask if Don and Ellie can pretend they are married for the weekend, something that hurts Don’s new partner, Bebe (Susan Sarandon).
To make matters worse Alejandro’s adopted sister, Lyla (Katherine Heigl) turns up in a bad way after the fact she can’t have children causes a split with her husband while his adopted brother, Jared (Topher Grace) decides to break his vow of not losing his virginity until he is married, and he has his eyes set on Alejandro’s biological sister, Nuria (Ana Ayora).
Then there’s Melissa’s racist parents, Barry (David Rasche) and the plasticly enhanced Muffin (Christine Ebersole) who are against the marriage as they want ‘beige’ grandchildren as a result of Alejandro’s Colombian roots.
Director, Justin Zackham, keeps the film going at a steady pace and while this is far from a great film it is an enjoyable one that holds the audience’s interest due to its interesting characters that have been well developed in the screenplay. The fact that you can’t predict what is going to be done, said or revealed next also enhances the film.
To the film’s credit, it packs a lot into its 89 minutes and despite that never feels like it skimps by not delivering a healthy dose of each character’s back story. It does this so well that you almost want some spin offs to come from the film – perhaps a movie about Lyla and her struggles or a television series in the vein of ‘Brothers & Sisters’ that follows this madcap family.
When it comes to the cast there are ups and downs in ‘The Big Wedding’. Sarandon, De Niro and Keaton seem to breeze through their roles, while Heigl puts in one of the better performances of her career. Topher Grace takes a big step-up and shows that he is capable of delivering more than he ever did in ‘That 70s Show’ or ‘Spider-Man’, likewise Seyfried is a cut above her normal performances.
But then there’s the miscast Ben Barnes who doesn’t look the least bit Colombian; a problem when his ‘brown’ skin color is mentioned a couple of times and Barnes is as white as snow. Then there’s poor Robin Williams whose character just doesn’t get enough screen time to warrant a character of his caliber playing it.
‘The Big Wedding’ is far from a great film, but its charm and characters grow on you and make the film an enjoyable watch that won’t leave you disappointed.