Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Comedy, Romance
  • 2013
  • 89 mins

The Big Wedding

The Big Wedding

Synopsis

The adopted son of a divorced couple must convince his estranged parents to feign marital bliss when his biological mother visits for his wedding.

About

Someone's been stealing from the Nancy Meyers playbook: not only does recycled romcom The Big Wedding shamelessly re-gift every single wedding cliché there is, it also borrows liberally from Meyers' glossy portfolio of movie characters with first world problems. Here we follow a set of affluent, middle-aged, white Americans who live in a lakeside model home with interior décor to die for, enjoying romantic entanglements with the kind of painfully attractive men and women that are usually restricted to the pages of People Magazine.

Frankly, even Terry & June would balk at such a hackneyed set-up: Robert De Niro's paunchy playboy and his ex-wife Diane Keaton must put their differences aside and fake a marriage for three days, while adopted son Ben Barnes entertains his deeply religious biological mother on the eve of his wedding. It's a fitting format for a farce, but feels tragically outdated from the outset; you can practically hear the cogs creaking as the story goes through the motions. De Niro at least has fun as the lusty patriarch, pawing at his old flame while grinning that Cheshire Cat smile of his, but the large ensemble cast is mostly filler: Katherine Heigl quickly grates as the daughter with marital problems; Topher Grace is on auto-pilot as the son looking to lose his V-plates (at 29 – yeah, right); and Amanda Seyfried is wasted in the thankless role of bride-to-be. There isn't a relatable character in the bunch, making this feel like one of those weddings you just can't wait to leave.

A smart script would compensate for a roster of rascals, but this is route one comedy – here, punchlines are delivered literally (usually on the nose of De Niro), and there are two 'hilarious' scenes in which someone accidentally falls in water. A 15-rating does at least give the family feuding some much-needed edge, but such spite feels at odds with the cuddly-wuddly womance writer-director Justin Zackham is desperate to shovel come the final 'I do's. At least Nancy Meyers knew how to sell schmaltz.

In a nutshell

You'll run out of appendages on which to count the clichés. Charmless and largely laugh-free, The Big Wedding is glossy like it's been ripped from the pages of a magazine, but the characters are paper-thin as a result.

by Ali Gray

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    House of the Dead

    Five students hitch a ride on a smuggler's boat to a rave on an island inhabited by flesh-eating zombies.

    On Film4: 28 Aug 2:15AM

  • Film4

    Room

    Brie Larson stars in Lenny Abrahamsons Film4-backed adaptation of Emma Donoghues acclaimed novel.

  • Film4

    FrightFest 2015 on Film4

    A season of horror films to celebrate Film4's FrightFest

  • Film4

    Mama on Film4

    A creepy horror film starring Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, executive produced by Guillermo Del Toro

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • At 12.50am, Natalie Portman gives an Oscar-winning performance as a troubled ballerina in Black Swan. http://t.co/jYp6K5mSQ6

  • @DuaineRoberts That's fair. Lots of hybrids in there - dramas, thriller, comedies with horror elements. Black Swan's terrifying in places.

  • Black Swan came 48th in our Must-See Horror Films Of The Century poll. Here's the full top 50: http://t.co/8MvDq8xfNr http://t.co/5gWywGgtiv

  • Our late-night highlight @ 12.50am is Darren Aronofsky's psychological thriller Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman. http://t.co/gPfBHSZnBb

  • At 11.05pm, a victim of possession finds that some demons just don't know when to stop in The Last Exorcism Part II, http://t.co/hFlNRQRxuO

Share