GENRE: Nuptial comedy
THE PITCH: African-American radio personality Brad Boyd (Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker) and Mexican-American car-towing magnate Miguel Ramirez (comedian Carlos Mencia) noisily bicker when Brad’s son Marcus (Lance Gross) and Miguel’s daughter Lucia (“Ugly Betty” star America Ferrera) announce plans for a quickie wedding. The nuptials soon become bigger than the young couple wants.
MONEY SHOTS: A montage of food, flowers and dresses provides the minimum requirement of wedding magazine porn. Miguel struggles to figure out Brad’s high-tech bathroom. Brad and his best friend (Regina King) wage an unlikely cake fight at a bakery. The characters envision amusing worst-case scenarios based on the wedding “seating schematic.” A priapic goat (really) goes wild at the wedding in a scene that tries so hard, it commands an amazed fascination.
BEST LINES: Genuinely funny lines prove hard to come by, but it’s kind of funny whenever the bickering dads volley back and forth lines such as, “I’m not your ‘brah,’ cuz.” “I’m not your ‘cuz,’ vato,” etc.
WORST LINES: When Marcus announces his plan to take a Doctors Without Borders assignment in Laos, Miguel asks “Los?’ Like ‘Los Angeles,’ ‘Las Vegas?’” (Charlie Murphy and Anjelah N. Johnson come up conspicuously short as the film’s comic relief.)
FASHION STATEMENT: Whitaker dresses to the nines throughout the film, particularly with his pinstripe suit, black high-tops and matching lime-green shirt and tie. At a club scene, Miguel shows off the narrow red Duran Duran tie he got from towing the band. King works her short haircut and various sleeveless, backless gowns.
SOUNDTRACK HIGHLIGHTS: Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings’ background tunes such as “100 Days, 100 Nights” may be the best part of the movie. Marcus’ friends make a running joke of Babyface’s “Soon As I Get Home,” an anthem for “whipped” men. Lucia even sings the tune outside Marcus’ window to apologize. Jose James’ smooth R&B ballad “Desire” accompanies the montage of the characters sadly thinking. Our Family Wedding may be the zillionth movie that ends with Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September.”
ETHNIC TENSIONS: Our Family Wedding’s culture-clash comedy seems to come at the expense of African-Americans less often than Mexican-Americans, with their fondness for goats, Mariachi bands and traditions. An exception comes when Brad says, “Once you go black…” and Miguel replies, “… your credit goes bad.”
HEY, WAIT A MINUTE: At her first sight of Marcus, Lucia’s abuela (Lupe Ontiveros) shrieks and faints on the kitchen floor. But the other Ramirezes had already met Marcus: Wouldn’t they have given her a head’s up?
THE BOTTOM LINE: Audiences looking for big laughs among feuding in-laws (along the lines of, oh, The In-Laws) will be disappointed. Mencia’s bland acting won’t win him any new fans, and Whitaker’s edge-of-tears emoting doesn’t fit his role. The film fails to find much interesting to say about mixed marriage and the American melting pot, so Our Family Wedding could just as easily be called Who Cares Who’s Coming to Dinner?
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