An all-star cast very nearly goes down with the ship as filmmaker Justin Zackham (The Bucket List) indulges in relentlessly farcical silliness. Thankfully the actors play it relatively straight, injecting moments of dark emotion and sharp wit in between the corny wackiness. But the script is more interested in humiliating its characters than finding any genuine humour.
The eponymous nuptials are between Alejandro and Missy (Barnes and Seyfried), who haplessly watch their families implode as the big day approaches. Alejandro's adoptive dad Don (De Niro) and his long-time girlfriend Bebe (Sarandon) are planning the event, but Alejandro's deeply religious birth-mother (Rae) is coming from Colombia, so he asks his dad to pretend to still be married to his ex-wife Ellie (Keaton). Meanwhile, Alejandro's sister Lyla (Heigl) is having her own marriage crisis, while his brother Jared (Grace) can't keep his libido under control.
As the preparations continue, the plot gets increasingly tangled. But it also becomes strangely ingrown, as if these people have never met anyone outside their small circle of family and friends. Past secrets are revealed and dark peccadillos come to light, leading to a series of manic confrontations. Through it all, the film remains blandly amusing, although its rather extreme moments never quite escalate to Meet the Parents hilarity. Thankfully they avoid the strained goofiness of Death at a Funeral.
De Niro, Keaton and Sarandon manage to find believably intriguing characters amid the slapstick while generating various sparks of chemistry between them. Barnes also has some enjoyable moments as the nice guy trying to calm the storm. But Seyfried barely registers, while Heigl and Grace are one-note characters we never really care about. And Williams is a bit pointless as the moralising, sardonic parish priest. As it goes along, the film raises issues of infidelity and mutual respect that get us thinking, even if the script would rather merely play them for laughs. But at least it keeps us smiling.
Run time: 89 mins
In Theaters: Friday 26th April 2013
Box Office USA: $21.8M
Distributed by: Lionsgate Films
Production compaines: Two Ton Films, Millenium Films
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 7%
Fresh: 7 Rotten: 94
IMDB: 5.6 / 10
Director: Justin Zackham
Screenwriter: Justin Zackham
Starring: Robert De Niro as Don Griffin, Diane Keaton as Ellie Griffin, Katherine Heigl as Lyla Griffin, Amanda Seyfried as Missy O'Connor, Topher Grace as Jared Griffin, Susan Sarandon as Bebe McBride, Robin Williams as Father Monaghan, Ben Barnes as Alejandro Griffin, Christa Campbell as Kim, Kyle Bornheimer as Andrew, Christine Ebersole as Muffin, David Rasche as Barry, Patricia Rae as Madonna, Ana Ayora as Nuria, Megan Ketch as Jane
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