Sunday, 20 June 2010

Cinema Review: Our Family Wedding

The cutesy, undoubtedly beautiful, rising Hollywood star America Ferrera (best known for her title character in ABC's Ugly Betty) has recently branched out into the land of film. Starring most recently in Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon, her second full-length feature of the year is the romantic comedy-drama Our Family Wedding, directed by Rick Famuyiwa.

Cultures class when Lucia (Ferrera) and Marcus (Lance Gross) announce to their families that they're engaged - a hasty decision made primarily on the fact that the two are planning a quick departure to help the poor in Laos. Already at a feud, the fathers prove incredibly problematic in the arranging of the wedding and attempting to wrap their minds around the situation at hand.

The understandable culture clash remains the prominent subject throughout, with an unarguable emphasis on the repercussions produced by the spiteful, cheaply ineffective, one-liners spouted between characters. However, such problems are tremendously over-acted by the cast, bordering on the sloppy and downright annoying. Oscar winner Forest Whitaker seems entirely unfazed by the badly written character, with a case of bewilderment circling rapidly throughout my mind as to why he chose such a futile person to play. Carlos Mencia equals the stupidity of Whitaker. Despite their consistent bickering providing easy entertainment during the first five-six minutes, it down-spirals into something so contrived and implausibly dim-witted.

The silver lining, however, remains within Ferrera herself. Her glowing nature and believability as any character is conspicuous. Sadly, the film never holds anything of worth for very long. The chemistry between her and Gross is entirely non-existent. Without any emotional connection, both characters fall flat with no method of resurrection due to the increasingly painful script.

Without any element of romance or above-ordinary comedy, what we're truly left with is a sinking, hollow ship with almost zero worth. While it does deal with problems faced within an interracial couple, they're dealt with so abruptly and, unfortunately, almost all have a comedic spin on them. Serious problems such as this - which can deeply affect a relationship - should be dealt with meticulously.

Regina King provides an escape within the film, but with a character so vastly underused any relevance she has is regrettably intertwined with Whitaker's moron of a character. Some scenes capture a certain poignancy (most revolving around the unappreciated wife Diana Maria Riva) which, for me, stands as the highlight.

An unfortunate film which would have worked wonderfully with a decent script, a makeover of characters and an unpredictable turn of events -- all of which can be thought up by a five-year-old. Shame on you, Wayne Conley and Malcolm Spellman.


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