OUR FAMILY WEDDING
STARRING: Forrest Whitaker, America Ferrera, Carlos Mencia, Lance Gross, Regina King, Diana-Maria Riva, Lupe Ontiveros, Anjelah N. Johnson, Charlie Murphy and Shannyn Sossamon
WRITTEN BY: Wayne Conley, Malcolm Spellman and Rick Famuyiwa
DIRECTED BY: Rick Famuyiwa
Rated: PG - 13
Release Date: 12 March 2010
Review Date: 25 March 2010
Our Family Wedding was good, but it was barely good. As has been the case countless times in comedies and romantic comedies lately, it's the film's actors that save the film. Is it the writing or is it the directing and producing that is continuously falling short? It's often tough to say, but regardless of the condition of the screenplay, it's the producers, editors and directors who are the last ones to touch the project; I'm just saying.
Forrest Whitaker, as is probably to be expected, out-acts everyone in the film. He is just brilliant, and can steal any scene from any actor bold enough to share it with him. Here, he plays Brad, the father of Marcus (Lance Gross).
Marcus is happily engaged to Lucia (America Ferrera) and the two are madly in love. There's just one little problem; neither of them have told their parents. To make matters worse, they are both worried that the fact that
Marcus is black and Lucia is Hispanic, may play a part in causing an issue between their folks. Oh, and they are leaving the country, and have been secretly living together as well, which is a big no-no in Lucia's family.
Carlos Mencia plays Lucia's somewhat obsessive father, Miguel. If you know anything about Mencia, you will be blown away by him in this film. He really is a talented actor. However, I could not help but feel this part should have gone to George Lopez. Lopez is a master at this kind of comedy, and I felt that Mencia was being held back in the film, comedic-ally. He's got a dirty mouth, and not to type-cast him, but I'd rather see him in a film where he could use it frivolously.
There is a pretty funny scene early on in which the two dads meet each other, not knowing that their children are dating one another. Miguel owns his own towing company and Brad is a successful DJ. Living in California, the filmmakers clearly wanted them to be very good at their jobs, because they both have a ton of money, based on their extravagant homes and accessories. It's a stretch, but - okay, whatever. Miguel ends up towing Brad's nice car and the two get into a juvenile racial spat in the middle of the street.
Later that night, we meet the rest of the family and discover that Brad has a thing for younger women, as his date (Shannyn Sossamon), is about the same age as his son's fiancé. Of course everyone is already sitting at the table and has been introduced to one another, by the time the two unsuspecting fathers join them and realize their unwanted debacle. More racial tension and some pretty descent laughs ensue.
Perhaps my favorite element the film had to offer was a side relationship that brews between Brad and his longtime best friend and lawyer, Angela, played by the amazing Regina King. Regina King, is long overdue a starring role. Do you hear that Tyler Perry? Sign her up!
Marcus's mother has been out of the picture for years, and Brad and Anglea are a very flirtatious couple of friends. We know right off the bat that they are into each other and that inevitably they will end up together. What I loved, is that the film doesn't painfully drag it out through a series of mindless tid-bitts, only to have them end up together in the last five minutes, for the sole purpose of an, "ohhhhh" moment. They get intimate somewhere in the middle, and this was a nice refreshing turn. King and Whitaker's chemistry together was extraordinary.
There are several good laughs to be found in the film, but there are plenty of missed opportunities as well. The one thing I definitely would have changed was the goat showing up to ruin the ending. Well, that was okay, but did it really have to eat Brad's Viagra and dry-hump Forrest Whitaker? Where did this come from? It was funny, but belonged in a Ben Stiller movie.