Disastrous family comedy about a star-studded wedding that – you guessed it – goes a bit wrong.
Whenever you see a cast list with as many big names as there are in director Justin Zackham’s second feature, The Big Wedding, approach with caution.
Robert De Niro – whose forays into comedy are always hit and miss – plays a semi-retired sculptor involved in a long time relationship with Bebe, (Susan Sarandon). In their tasteless home populated by pug pictures, we open to this couple in the midst of oral sex, interrupted by his former wife Ellie (Diane Keaton). After this downright stomach-churning scene, the bar is set for this apparent comedy, with its plethora of lewd, tiresome sex gags and not-there performances.
De Niro and Keaton have an adopted son named Alejandro (Ben Barnes) who is set to marry Missy (Amanda Seyfried). Their Columbian-born offspring decides that he wants his birth mother present at the wedding, however she is a devout catholic who doesn’t believe in divorce. This leads to a weekend where De Niro must pretend to still be married to Keaton. Chaos, of course, ensues.
Rarely is cinema so unpleasant to behold, yet Zacham should be commended for managing to muster such an impressive list of names for such a hoary old tale. It adopts the basic structure of a romantic comedy, setting itself up as this year’s Meet The Fockers, where family politics play out amid lame comic scenarios. Yet for all the faults of Jay Roach’s Focker films, they are Oscar-worthy by comparison.
The younger cast, which also includes a woeful set of performances from Topher Grace and Katherine Heigl, are equally exasperating. Both are given teenage characters with dull back-stories, including Grace playing a twentysomething virgin desperate to sleep with Alejandro’s sex-kitten sister (Ana Ayora). Robin Williams also offers up his shtick as a drunken catholic priest, adding to the carnage of this car crash comedy.
Each character provides their own form of detestability, with De Niro coming off particularly badly as a randy old man who will do anything to get laid. Rarely does a film manage to evoke disgust and anger in such equal measure.
Too many big name actors often spoil the broth.
Tiresome, tawdry, trash.
Pure claw-your-eyes-out cinema.