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

Continue reading: The Big Wedding Review