In Our Family Wedding, she’s Mexican-American and he’s African-American, and they want to get married and start their lives together, but with fathers battling it out to be the dominant patriarch and families clashing over wedding plans, this couple may not make it to the alter in this latest version of the Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner premise. The film starts off promising, and for a while there you can almost imagine director Rick Famuyiwa (Brown Sugar) taking a familiar story in an entirely new direction, but predictably he lets you down, and the bulk of the film is riddled with fill-in-the-blank wedding-comedy cliches and shameless racial stereotypes.
The story centers on Lucia (America Ferrera) and Marcus (Lance Gross), who want to squeeze in a quick wedding before going away to Laos, where Marcus plans to volunteer for Doctors Without Borders. But before they do that, they return to their hometown of Los Angeles to tell their families about the relationship. You see, Lucia has been hiding the fact that’s she’s living with Marcus and fears that her overprotective traditional father, Miguel (Carlos Mencia), will disown her. Meanwhile, Marcus worries about introducing his new fiancee to his marriage-phobic radio-show host father, Brad (Forest Whitaker), who has a thing for young women not much older than his son. When the two families finally meet, Brad and Miguel instantly dislike each other and cause matrimonial hell for their offspring. The couple adopt the “our marriage, their wedding” mantra, which pretty much sums up how the rest of the film plays out.
Whitaker is surprisingly convincing as the smooth-talking DJ and delivers an entertaining comedic performance. Mencia brings his standard schtick, though it’s much more toned down than what we’re used to seeing from him. Both men play well off each other, and by the end the audience buys their newly developed friendship. Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera is adorable as Lucia, the Columbia Law School dropout who wants to get married and save the world with Marcus, her dull-as-dishwater doctor fiance. Ferrera and Gross were obviously miscast as the hopelessly-in-love couple, and though individually both are charming in their own way, together there’s no chemistry between them. There is chemistry, however, between Brad and his longtime BFF Angela, played by Regina King, who gives a solid performance. Their playful relationship is much more enjoyable to watch, and King brings a coolness factor that makes the audience root for her.
Some scenes seem grossly out of place, like the random family softball game and the fathers’ trip to a night club that ends in both being arrested for drunken and disorderly conduct; still, there is an underlying current of sentimentality that keeps the audience emotionally invested. By the end you do feel all warm and fuzzy as Lucia and Marcus get married and both families put away their differences and hug it out on the dance floor. That moment comes too late, though, as all the messiness before it overshadows that good feeling, and in the end the film reveals itself as a tasteless exercise in predictability.
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- Released: 2010
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: In Our Family Wedding, she’s Mexican-American and he’s African-American, and they want to get married and start their lives together, but with fathers battling it out to be the dominant patriarch and families clashing over wedding plans, this couple may no… (more)