The diversions in the ensemble comedy
The movie's own brand of charm has its subset of smarm. Part bedroom farce, part heart-tugging familial dysfunction, "The Big Wedding" was adapted by writer-director Justin Zackham from the 2006 French-Swiss co-production "Mon Frere se Marie."
In the original, a well-to-do Swiss couple's adopted Vietnamese son is readying a marriage. The son's birth mother, long out of the picture, travels to reunite with young Vinh for the wedding. Cultural differences and narrative circumstances require Vinh's adoptive parents, long divorced, to fake that they're still together.
Some aspects of the earlier film remain; others have been changed or added. In "The Big Wedding," De Niro's Philip Rothesque sculptor character is living with a caterer (Susan Sarandon), a longtime family friend. The adopted Colombian-born son, Alejandro (
This is an American movie trying, strenuously, to "swing" a little. The slapstick is broad and generally awkward. Five minutes into the picture, Keaton stumbles upon De Niro and Sarandon in a sex act in the kitchen, and it's like: Whoa. Have we met? Could we get another 10 minutes of setup, please?
What makes it passably entertaining is the interaction between the stars, usually when the pressure to "deliver" is off, and the banter sticks to a confidential key. Like "La Cage aux Folles," "The Big Wedding" preaches tolerance and understanding. It's too early to say if director Zackham has real talent, beyond that for assembling an impressive cast. The surest thing that can be said of "The Big Wedding" is that you've seen worse ensemble wedding comedies. But for the record: