Fox // 2010 // 103 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // July 21st, 2010
The wedding is even funnier on Blu-ray!
Our Family Wedding tells the story of a romance between a young man named Marcus (Lance Gross, Tyler Perry's House of Payne) and a young woman named Lucia (America Ferrera, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants). He is African-American, she is Mexican-American. They love each other very much. Alas, they both have families that are completely unaware of their relationship, much less the fact that Marcus and Lucia have just become engaged. The lovers come back home from college and introduce the two families to each other. Sparks of conflict begin to fly.
This is the sort of idea that has served as the springboard for a lot of engaging comedy/dramas (seems like many of them have been French, for whatever reason), but Our Family Wedding goes downhill quickly when it reveals its willingness to allow the likable characters to turn into living cartoons at any given moment. This is the sort of film in which half the scenes can be described with those three ominous words: wacky hijinks ensue. What could have been a charming tale of a culture clash between two very different types of families is instead an essay in foolishness rooted in wheezy stereotypes.
Interestingly, the film begins by focusing on the young couple but quickly becomes more interested in the father figures of the story. Lucia's father is Miguel (Carlos Mencia, Mind of Mencia), who tows vehicles for a living. Marcus' father is Brad (Forest Whitaker, Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai), a divorced radio DJ who lives in a nice house and seems to change girlfriends every week. The two men dislike each other intensely, engaging in games of one-upmanship and macho rivalry until the inevitable moment when they learn to shake hands and get along. The film spends the majority of its running focusing on the games these two play, which might have been more fun if the games weren't so mindless (there's a particularly agonizing sequence in which Mr. Whitaker is humped by a goat).
Because the filmmakers allow this silliness to dominate the film, the many subplots whirring in the background never really have a chance to register. You've got the budding relationship between Brad and his attorney (Regina King, Copland), who represents a chance for him to grow up and have a relationship of substance with a "real woman." You've got the relationship between Miguel and his wife, which has grown cold and lackluster after too many years. You've got the story of the secret that Marcus and Lucia are hiding from their families, and the assortment of colorful characters populating the background of the film (including a very goofy Charlie Murphy). There's some interest in these subplots, but they're too thin to make an impression.
The performances are merely adequate. Ferrera and Gross are likable, but never really manage to become compelling human beings. Mencia is more restrained than usual, but when he's permitted to go nuts we're reminded of why his particular brand of comedy can be so grating. Whitaker is easily the most prestigious member of the cast, but he just goes through the motions and puts little effort into the role. Seriously, why has the actor taken on so many terrible parts in the wake of his Oscar-winning role as Idi Amin? In the end, the cast member who makes the strongest impression is Regina King, who never feels anything less than completely real and genuine.
The DVD transfer is solid. The film has a reasonably pleasant aesthetic; a bit more restrained and elegant in its design than many broad comedies of this sort. The level of detail is solid enough, if not exactly eye-popping. There's a little bit of black crush now and then, but it never gets too awful. Audio is decent as well, particularly during the nightclub sequence midway through the film (an impressive blend of music, sound design and dialogue). Supplements include a brief EPK-style featurette called "Til Dads Do Us Part," 17 minutes of deleted scenes, 4 minutes of extended scenes, a gag reel, and a trailer. Meh.
When I glanced at the film's IMDb page, I was surprised to discover that Our Family Wedding had a user rating of 2.6 out of 10 (just barely high enough to keep it out of the Bottom 100). It's really not that bad, just typically formulaic. Only big fans of the stars involved should bother.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 103 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Deleted/Extended Scenes
* Gag Reel