Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton and other notable names star in a disastrous film about a disastrous wedding. Full of flat jokes and poor characters, all in support of a tired, hackneyed set-up, “The Big Wedding” is one you should just tell, “I don’t”.
Don Griffin (Robert De Niro) and his long time girlfriend Bebe (Susan Sarandon) are about to host the wedding of his adopted son Alejandro (Ben Barnes) and his fiancé (Amanda Seyfried). Don’s ex-wife Ellie (Diane Keaton) is coming back for the weekend, as are his biological daughter (Katherine Heigl) and son (Topher Grace).
Alejandro drops a bombshell on the family, however, by informing them that he’s never told his biological mother that his adopted parents divorced. She’s a devout Catholic coming to the country all the way from Columbia, and Alejandro fears that if she finds out, she’ll be incensed and cause an uproar at the wedding. After a period of debate, the family decides that the only thing to do is for Don and Ellie to pretend to still be married for the weekend, leaving an insulted Bebe out in the cold.
That should make you groan right there. “Pretending to be ____” for a wedding is a tired comedic set-up that needs to be put out of its misery once and for all. Hopefully this dud is the bullet that will do just that. But that’s not all. Along with the deflated premise of people putting on pretenses, “The Big Wedding” tosses in an unexpected pregnancy, a 30-year-old virgin and the public revelation of affairs long past into the mix. Unfortunately, none of them add any real humor to the proceedings. They’re just trite tropes to toss into the “wedding disaster” mix.
Lame jokes routinely fall flat, and there’s far more family drama than you’ll care to sit through. The moments that don’t fall flat are occasionally uncomfortable, as well, including seeing De Niro and Sarandon (or Keaton) in a variety of sexual situations. This is a movie seriously in need of some added humor somehow. Maybe they should have hired a comedy consultant.
The cast performs admirably given the shoddy script they have to work with. De Niro’s Don is a womanizer and recovering alcoholic with family repair work to do. It’s not the world’s most well-written character, but at least De Niro doesn’t mail it in. Similarly, Keaton and Sarandon give game efforts as his past and current wife/girlfriend. Topher Grace draws the short end of the stick as a doctor who’s supposedly still a virgin at age 30, but he too buys into the part. Heigl is given a much larger role than you’d expect, but she was fine… Heigl haters will have much more to complain about with other aspects of the film. Robin Williams and Amanda Seyfried both are probably thankful that their parts were so small.
It made me wonder who writer/director Justin Zackham is connected to… why all these people signed up for this. I couldn’t find any answers, short of he’s the writer of “The Bucket List”.
“The Big Wedding” is unfunny and dull. The high concept is as stale as month old bread, and you’ll feel it. The cast give it the old college try, but not even industrial strength defibrillators could bring this dormant turd to life.