It’s completely acceptable to watch and enjoy a predictable, fun, feel-good romantic comedy. But if that comedy is manipulative and treats the viewers as children, then it cheapens the film, making it unbearable to watch. There are two main problems with The Big Wedding: the screenplay treats the audience as idiots, inserting plot devices just to move the story forward; and it wastes the talents of fine actors like Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton.
Adapted from the 2006 French film Mon frére se marie, screenwriter and director Justin Zackham (screenwriter for The Bucket List) brings together massive star power, which includes Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Ben Barnes and Topher Grace.
The question is, “Why would such talented actors sign on to participate in what could be one of the worst movies of the year?” The answers are quite simple: they all wanted to work with each other and in the end, its just another payday in Hollywood.
The wedding in Big Wedding surrounds a young couple, Alejandro (Ben Barnes) and Missy (Amanda Seyfried) who are coming up on their last days before the nuptials. They attend their final couple’s meeting with Father Moinighan (Robin Williams, playing the same character in 2007’s License to Wed), who painfully pushes the Catholic faith on Alejandro. Alejandro’s adoptive parents Don (Robert De Niro) and Ellie (Diane Keaton) have been divorced for 15 years and Don now lives with long-time girlfriend Bebe (Susan Sarandon).
Alejandro’s biological and Catholic mother Madonna (Patricia Rae) decides to fly in to attend her son’s wedding, which puts Alejandro in a tizzy since he never told her about his adoptive parents’ divorce. Alejandro convinces his parents to pretend they are married during the wedding weekend in order to keep his biological mother happy.
Naturally Bebe gets upset and storms out, leaving Don and Ellie to play house again. Although Bebe seems to have been a big part of Al’s and his siblings (Katherine Heigl and Topher Grace) lives, she still leaves, something that a woman who deeply cared for these children would never do.
As stupid and tedious as The Big Wedding is, it does prove how fine of an actor De Niro is. It’s no surprise that the best scenes in the movie were the ones that included him, showing how the Oscar winner can take a crap screenplay and lift it up a little, even making his silly character quite likable.
The Big Wedding reminds us of 2009’s It’s Complicated mixed with 2002’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding, except those films were entertaining and served their purpose well in the movie world.