A big embarassment
When a tagline for a film begins with the line “featuring an all-star cast,” you can bet the studio has something to hide. Rarely is an all-star cast a worthwhile reason to see a film, especially one as devoid of entertainment value as “The Big Wedding.” But even for a genre that routinely throws out clunkers like “Bride Wars,” “License to Wed,” and a repulsively poor adaptation of the terrific stage musical “Mamma Mia,” this new take on the big day sinks to new levels of horrid.
Ellie Griffin (Diane Keaton) returns to the home where she and husband Don (Robert DeNiro) raised three children before divorcing after 20 years of marriage. The occasion is the marriage of their adopted son Alejandro (Ben Barnes) to Missy (Amanda Seyfried). The entire premise, weak as it is, involves Alejandro’s biological mother Madonna (Patricia Rae) arriving from Colombia, and the family’s desire to keep Ellie and Don’s divorce a secret. No problem, right? All Don has to do is kick girlfriend Bebe (Susan Sarandon) out of the picture for a few days and everyone can put on a fake show to keep the peace.
Fake is the operative word here because nothing these people do feels real for one minute. Their vulgar, inappropriate, disrespectful, immoral, sacrilegious, and vapid behavior might be tolerable if at least newbie writer-director Justin Zackham had written something funny or original for his “all-star cast” to deliver. You know a film has bottomed out when Robin Williams’ priestly portrayal is even worse than his previously bad clergy roles. And instead of feeling angry for having paid to see still another terrible film starring Katherine Heigl we actually feel sorry to witness her career continue to nosedive. Egads, even the talented Topher Grace looks like he’s never acted before.
Yes, the “R” rated material will offend some. But if “Bridesmaids” taught us anything it’s that a real story with real characters can be an effective and very funny slice of dysfunctional wedding day cake.
“The Big Wedding” takes a page from Adam Sandler’s playbook by creating despicable, unapologetically heartless characters for which we must feel empathy just in time for the film’s conveniently-placed warm and fuzzy finale. Nothing beats talking down to your audience, right?
Before this mess, DeNiro was on the comeback trail. Keaton has been solid in recent films. Sarandon has been a standout in smaller films of late. Robin Williams? Well, we’ll focus on his work from a few years back. Whatever these “all-stars” got paid, it wasn’t enough.
Speaking of money, don’t waste a penny of yours on “The Big Wedding.”
Rated R for language, sexual content and brief nudity.