Of all the films that got greenlit and sent out to the masses this year, none may be as head scratching to its existence as The Big Wedding. Featuring a smorgasbord of Hollywood stars — Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace, and Katherine Heigl — they have all somehow been talked into starring in one of the worst films ever made. A film so bad, it’s right on par with De Niro’s own Little Fockers. Perhaps it should be taken as a sign from now on that whenever De Niro agrees to be in a comedy, now we know what to expect. It’s all just another atrocious American remake of another French farce — this time it’s Jean-Stéphane Bron’s Mon frère se marie.
The Big Wedding is one of those misguided films that thinks raunchy automatically equals funny. Working as a sort-of geriatric American Pie, it opens with Ellie (Keaton) arriving back at the old lake side homestead where she used to live with her ex-husband Don (De Niro). She lets herself in with the spare key and makes her way through the living room when Don and his long-term girlfriend Bebe (Sarandon) come in having a conversation about cunnilingus, along with all the other slang terms they can possibly think of. Ellie inexplicably hides herself but is finally found out as Don is about to head downtown and Bebe spots her making an escape. This is where you should find your own dear reader because it’s all downhill from there.
Ellie is back for the wedding of their adopted son Alejandro (Ben Barnes) to Missy (Seyfried). Missy’s parents, Barry and Muffin (David Rasche and Christine Ebersole), are already mortified that their beloved Missy is marrying a Columbian, so just wouldn’t you know it, his mother Madonna (Patricia Rae) and sister Nuria (Ana Ayora) are coming as well. There’s also subplots involving Don and Ellie’s other children — Jared (Grace), the virgin doctor, and Lyla (Heigl), the baby-hater. Alejandro drops a bomb on Don, Ellie, and Bebe that his mother doesn’t know that his parents aren’t divorced as Madonna considers that to be the worst sin ever. Now he wants Don and Ellie to pretend they’re still married, even though she’d rather punch him in the face and he can’t keep himself from calling her the c-word. Hilarity does not ensue.
What does is 89 minutes of excruciating pain inflicted upon the audience as writer/director Justin Zackham forces his cast to enact his grotesqueries upon an unsuspecting public. You know a film is in trouble when you have to sign an embargo entering the theater and commercials are advertising Buy One Get One admission. I originally had a little bit of hope for the film with its R-rating, but even that is only because De Niro can’t stop spewing the f-bombs. We’re treated to a rear shot and some side boob courtesy of Ayora, but even that falls to the way side when her big sex scene with Jared finally shows up. At least Zackham only takes 15 minutes to get to the vomit while Keaton talks about having nine hour tantric orgasms. Another subplot involves the fact that Bebe is a hippie of some sort and has forced Don to give up meat and alcohol. He tells one of his kids, “It sucks being sober,” and that’s exactly how you’ll feel sitting through this mess. Being one of the characters in Evil Dead would be less painful than having to sit through The Big Wedding ever again.
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