MOVIE REVIEWS - The Big Wedding

Ben Barnes as Alejandro and Amanda Seyfried as Missy in The Big Wedding
Ben Barnes as Alejandro and Amanda Seyfried as Missy in The Big Wedding
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BASED on the 2006 French farce Mon Frere Se Marie, The Big Wedding chronicles the trials and tribulations of a fractured family on the biggest day in one young man’s life.

Justin Zackham’s English-language remake is laden with Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated talent with impeccable comedic credentials including Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl and Robin Williams.

It’s an embarrassment of acting riches.

Perhaps something was lost in translation but Zackham’s script comes up a little short on snappy dialogue and the aisles are crammed with broad stereotypes, though there are some moments of genuine hilarity.

The rogue’s gallery includes a Catholic priest who abandons all hope for the souls of the bride and groom-to-be because they won’t impose religion on their children (“Hell it is then!”), and a sex-starved twenty-something virgin who is saving himself for his own wedding night.

At the centre of the madness is Alejandro Griffin (Ben Barnes), the Colombian-born adopted son of Don (Robert De Niro) and Ellie (Diane Keaton), who is poised to say “I do” to his pretty sweetheart, Missy O’Connor (Amanda Seyfried).

As the big day beckons, Alejandro has a huge favour to ask his adoptive parents, who are now divorced: he needs them to pretend that they are still married so that his biological mother, a devout Catholic called Madonna (Patricia Rae) who is flying in specially for the wedding, won’t be offended.

Don, who now lives with Bebe (Susan Sarandon), and Ellie reluctantly agree to go along with the charade, as do the couple’s grown-up children, Lyla (Katherine Heigl) and Jared (Topher Grace), who have their own relationship woes.

Once Madonna arrives at the celebrations with her sexually voracious daughter Nuria (Ana Ayora) in tow, one little white lie stacks atop another, right up to the point that family priest Father Monighan (Robin Williams) asks Alejandro and Missy to pledge themselves to each other before God.

The tower of fibs eventually topples over, compelling Madonna to liken her hosts’ antics to cheap soap opera: “You Americans are crazy. It’s like watching Telemundo!”

My rating 6/10

The Big Wedding is now showing at Empire cinema, Robin Park, Wigan - book your tickets on 08714 714 714