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The Big Wedding
★★☆☆☆
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First off… is there a more generic title in cinema history than The Big Wedding? Might there be a film called The Bad Outlaw or The Horny Teenager that I’m forgetting? The title and the cast photo of air-brushed movie stars on the poster leads one to think this movie from Bucket List writer Justin Zackham will be one of those schmaltzy, run-of-the-mill, neo-rom-com ensemble pictures that might pass a few hours of a long plane trip--something like Rumor Has it or What to Expect when You’re Expecting.  However, The Big Wedding doesn’t come close to fulfilling even those low expectations. This is simply one of the most ill conceived comedies to come along in years. Apparently adapted from a 2006 French film called Mon frère se marie, The Big Wedding tells the story a family wedding in which every main character has a backstory that would strain credibility even if it were the one eccentric thing in the movie.

The French source film is obviously a farce--the only way to make this material work would be to treat it in the broad, over-the-top, yet exquisitely constructed and tonally balanced way at which French filmmakers excel. Farce is simply not a genre Hollywood has done well since about 1976. Most contemporary American films that attempt farce end up, at best, with “quirk”. This picture aims for quirky/edgy but ends up as a bizarre mix of cloyingly sentimentality and offensive bad taste. In terms of awfulness, The Big Wedding surpasses most other dismissible modern comedies because there is not one moment where we believe that anything is at stake for any of the characters. Despite many secrets, and all the convoluted deceptions that the family engages in, there is never a sense that things would change for anyone if the various cats were let out of their bags. We can clearly see that even if the worst potential outcome of any situation set up in this film were to come true, not a single one of the zany relationship dynamics between the characters would be affected for more than an hour, tops. How this many contrived ideas and sequences can fit into an 85 minute running time is almost as baffling as how a script this awful could attract so many A-list stars.

Directed by Justin Zackham
Produced by Anthony Katagas, Justin Zackham, Clay Pecorin, Richard Salvatore, and Harry J. Ufland

Screenplay by Justin Zackham
Based on the film Mon frère se marie written by Jean-Stéphane Bron and Karine Sudan

With: Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, Diane Keaton, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, Ben Barnes, Christine Ebersole, David Rasche, Patricia Rae, and Ana Ayora

Cinematography: Jonathan Brown
Editing: Jon Corn
Music: Nathan Barr

Runtime: 89 min
Release Date: 26 April 2013
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1
Color