Movie Mom

As wilted as last weekend’s bridesmaid bouquet, “Our Family Wedding” manages to be offensive to African-Americans, Latinos, women, men, and sentient life forms of any kind. There may be a fine line between perpetuating stereotypes and making fun of them, but it is a line, and one that this film never makes it across. The only real connection the audience will have is with the actors, not the characters, as we ask ourselves over and over how so many talented people got stuck in this mess.

Every wedding is a culture clash, and there are plays, movies, and endless favorite family anecdotes about unexpected encounters with traditions and cuisine and even prejudices. But this story about the collision of cultures when a young woman of Mexican heritage marries an African-American has no real sense of its characters or their cultures and deteriorates quickly into superficial signifiers. The Frito Bandito has more ethnic sensitivity than anyone in this movie. A typically undernourished exchange has the groom’s father (a slumming Forest Whitaker) insisting that black traditions must be reflected in the ceremony but unable to remember any. There is no humor, no warmth, and no chemistry whatsoever between any of the characters, including the young couple we are supposed to be rooting for. And there’s no story — just emotional and sometimes literal mayhem in a lot of different locations.

Things that are supposed to be funny but are not include two different incidents of accidental Viagra taking, one involving the bride’s father and one involving a goat, a bartender who insists on being called a “mixologist,” excitable old ladies of both ethnic groups, a destroyed wedding cake, initial antagonism between the fathers over a towing incident that deteriorates into racial insults and subsequent bonding over getting drunk in a club (you don’t want to know the name of the drink they order from the mixologist) and dancing with lots of pretty girls. Things that are supposed to be endearing but are not include a best friends-turning to romance between Whitaker and the criminally underused Regina King and a rekindling of romance between the bride’s parents (a bland Carlos Mencia and Diana-Maria Riva). And it is truly unforgivable when there is a credit sequence series of photos suggesting yet another round of low-jinks ahead.

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