Film Review – The Big Wedding

Directed: Justin Zackham

Writer: Justin Zackham; Jean-Stéphane Bron (French version)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon

Tagline: “It’s never too late to start acting like a family”

Trivia: In this movie, Robin Williams quotes Oscar Wilde’s “Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.”

This should have been an easy one, a movie just down my alley, but strange things happen.

My grandmother used to make ice cream from fresh strawberries and cream made from her own back yard cow’s milk. When we used to tell her that there is more to ice cream than the ingredients she would say: “What could go wrong if you have good healthy ingredients”.

But it was the worst ice cream you could imagine. It had more ice cubes in it than cream and your teeth would freeze and crack while eating it.

The Big Wedding is just like my grandmother’s ice cream.

You’d think – What could go wrong with a movie with Robert de Niro, Diane Keaton and Susan Sarandon and a whole host of A-List performers?

Add to it a screenwriter and director (Justin Zackham) who has written one of my all-time favorite movies (The Bucket List), you should get a wonderful Soufflé.

But this Soufflé turned out flat and without taste, or rather a bad taste.

When the main ingredient – a proper script and a concept, is missing no matter how much A-List people you’ll put into your movie you’ll get a salad of characters and plots that leads to hell.

From a point of view of a writer – here are my main takes on this movie: 

Too many characters get the audience confused who is the Protagonist and who should we follow and care for. In this movie we have more than 7 characters that we are supposed to follow their story.

Characters need to be more than one-dimension or a cliché. This movie is full of them.

From a 30-year old male virgin (Topher Grace) to a career woman who can’t get pregnant and her husband left her (Kathrine Heigl), to a older divorced couple whereby the husband is a recovering alcoholic (Robert De Niro & Diane Keaton) and is now with his ex-wife best friend (Susan Sarandon), to a priest who is also a recovering alcoholic, but being Robin Williams we’re not sure if that’s true.

Plots and story need to make sense – The main premise of this movie is based on something so ridiculous that audience would find it hard to believe to.

Would a grown-up divorced couple agree to pretend that they are still married in their own surrounding – How would that work out?

Or that a 30+ woman who was informed she can’t get pregnant suddenly discovers she is? Why? Just because the movie needs a happy ending?

The only way a rambled script can work is when we have enough hillerious scenes.

But even here it seems as if Zackham’s creativity has come into a halt, as many of the so-called “jokes” were scenes we have seen in other “wedding” movies.

From a scene of getting a handjob during dinner, taken straight from Wedding Crashers, to a puke scene similar to one in the Bridesmaids to a priest who was an alcoholic. None even made us smile.

The only reason I’m not totally trashing this movie is that with all it’s flaws and lazy writing the amazing cast is able to make a failed script into a enjoyable movie.

Even with 3rd rate lines, De Niro has a credible charisma, and he and Keaton make a convincing ex-couple. 

Topher Grace – has good comic timing and a natural rapport with Katherine Heigl, who has the thankless task of playing the movie’s most boring character and Robin Williams is always good for a laugh even when some of those lines are on the border of racism and homophobia.

You finish watching this movie feeling as if you were served something that was supposed to be light and fun but ended as pure junk food.

You come out thinking – “What were they thinking?” And as William Goldman said – “Nobody really knows”…

You get great action scenes in Elysium and the fact that L.A. is portrait as an extension of a Latino country is a great motif for the issue. The special effects in the movie are unique, especially the robotic police force that maintains order on the planet’s surface. I especially enjoyed the scene of the exchange between Max, who is trying to explain himself to his parole officer, who is a robot and is only programmed on certain options and answers, which are not going to help Max. This was a great metaphor for the faults in our bureaucracy.

As a learning – it’s good to see that even the good ones sometimes miss their target and get lost in the woods…

Verdict 2/5 Stars in my book

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