Our Family Wedding
2010, PG-13, 102 min. Directed by Rick Famuyiwa. Starring America Ferrera, Forest Whitaker, Carlos Mencia, Regina King, Lance Gross, Diana-Maria Riva, Lupe Ontiveros, Anjelah Johnson.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., March 12, 2010
“Our marriage, their wedding.” That’s the mantra lovebirds Lucia Ramirez (Ferrera) and Marcus Boyd (Gross) learn early in the process of their clamorous wedding planning. Our Family Wedding is a formulaic wedding comedy about mismatched families, but thanks to several appealing performances this rote exercise turns out better than most. Foremost among the actors is Academy Award-winner Whitaker in a surprising comic turn as Marcus’ father, Brad. His foil is no less than professional comedian Mencia as Miguel, father of the bride. These two sparring pappies, in fact, begin their war of words prior to their children’s announcement of their nuptials when Miguel tows Brad’s prized Bugatti. Brad already has a chip on his shoulder (if not his car) by the time the kids surprise their parents in one fell swoop with their abrupt news. For his part, Mencia actually departs from his usually pugnacious stand-up persona. Sure, the men toss out insults based on class, race, and culture, but there are actually human beings inside these stereotypical characters. They make for an odd couple, with some of Mencia’s comic effrontery rubbing off on Whitaker while Whitaker lends some calming gravity to Mencia’s standard schtick. At the heart of the story, of course, is the always delightful Ferrera as the bride-to-be caught upsetting either the man she loves or the family she also loves. Famuyiwa (Brown Sugar) manages to keep it all moving along swiftly while still detouring for some colorful subplots. By the time a sacrificial goat swallows a vial of Viagra, you may have occasional doubts about the direction of some of these subplots, but we get off easily with just a little dry humping. Our Family Wedding should appeal to the same people who flock to Tyler Perry’s romantic comedies sans Madea. It’s an underserved audience, but hey, who doesn’t love a wedding?