You really can’t go wrong when your cast boasts (4) actors with a combined (20) Academy Award nominations (and (5) Oscars) between them. And after a few minutes “The Big Wedding” doesn’t disappoint.
It’s a big weekend for all involved. Alejandro (Ben Barnes) and Missy (Amanda Seyfried) are going to be married. Alejandro was a third world child adopted by Don (De Niro) and Ellie (Keaton). Years ago the marriage broke up when Don cheated with Ellie’s best friend, Bebe (Sarandon). Don and Bebe are still together but not married. Don and Ellie also had two other children: daughter Lyla (Katherine Heigl), an attorney and son Jared (the always fun to watch Topher Grace), a doctor with a secret. Well, after a night out with friends from work not that much of a secret. It seems Jared is a virgin. At age 15 he decided to wait for true love. Sadly, fifteen years later, he hasn’t found it yet. The big news though is that Alejandro’s birth mother, Madonna (Patricia Rae), who has kept in touch with the boy over the years, will be attending the wedding. Knowing his mother is very devout he never told her that Don and Ellie split up. Now he has a favor to ask of everyone. Can Don and Ellie pretend to still be married for three days to keep the religious faith? Well, they can certainly try.
Flawlessly acted by a cast I would pay to see read the Yellow Pages, “The Big Wedding” is a fine ensemble piece that plays like a mix of “The Birdcage” and “Meet the Parents.” And not a coincidence since the cast includes both De Niro and, as the priest enlisted to perform the service, Robin Williams. Everyone on screen, from the award winning veterans to the younger cast members, share a great chemistry together. Whether it’s a more serious situation (Heigl’s inability to get pregnant is destroying her marriage) or a comical one (accompanying Madonna is her stunningly beautiful daughter (Ana Ayora) who has a request for Jared: to please make love to her! It truly is a comedy of errors as one little deception begins to grow into a comedic brouhaha.
Director Zackman adapted his script from the French film “Mon frère se Marie.” He has a nice flow with the story telling, letting each small vignette lead into another in a seamless way. The emotional trip runs the gamut from tears to laughter and everything in between. But it is a trip I recommend you take.