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Our Family Wedding’ Not Worth Attending

Caitlin Ferraro | Thursday, March 18, 2010

Director Rick Famuyiwa’s “Our Family Wedding” advertises itself as an ensemble romance dramedy with a promising premise and strong cast. Unfortunately, the film does not find success due to an overabundance of main characters, clichés and contrived situations.

Newly engaged Lucia (America Ferrara) and Marcus (Lance Gross) must meet each other’s parents for the first time and tell them that they plan to get married, but this normally joyous occasion is complicated by the fact that Lucia is Mexican and Marcus is Black. Lucia’s grandmother is especially dismayed. Furthermore, Lucia’s father Miguel (Carlos Mencia) and Marcus’s father Brad (Forest Whitaker) already hate each other due to a prior run-in.

The families take control of the wedding, making it all about them instead of their children’s love. The motto they make the kids reiterate is, “Our Marriage, Their Wedding.” And these characters do make everything about themselves. Lucia’s mother (Diana Maria Riva) wants to make it her dream wedding, while the egotistical men argue simply to argue.

The racial tensions are a bit over the top and continue throughout the film, quickly becoming annoying. Cross-cultural marriages can be difficult, but Carlos and Brad’s issues stem mostly from an encounter over a towed car. While this culture clash could have being interesting, it simply isn’t and you find yourself wishing they would realize that it is 2010 and move on. After all, the characters are inherently good people, they just come from different backgrounds.

Another fault of the film is that Lucia, Marcus, Miguel and Brad all have significant storylines that the film attempts to follow. Lucia dropped out of law school and is hiding that information from her father, causing tensions with Marcus, who wants her to tell the truth.

Meanwhile, Miguel is having marital woes because he pays more attention to his rebuilt cars than to his wife. Divorcé Brad is a ladies’ man with a best friend (Regina King) who is quietly in love with him.

Each storyline could be worthy on its own but due to the length of the film, they cannot all be explored properly, leaving the audience with underdeveloped characters and a lack of empathy for the woes in their lives.

What little time the film had left was spent on silly gimmicks. An electronically controlled overflowing bathroom in one scene — not funny — plagues Miguel. The old men get drunk and are arrested for fighting — not funny. A wild goat (already ridiculous) wreaks havoc after consuming Viagra — definitely not funny.

These scenes make the film stale, old and oddly familiar. “Our Family Wedding” seems to have cut scenes from other films of a similar vein and pieced them together. There is nothing fresh or original about this film, making it highly predictable.

The actors did their best with an average script. Ferrara is cute as a young woman trying to escape her role as daddy’s little girl. Plus, it is always nice to see her without her “Ugly Betty” braces. Gross, a relative newcomer, is charming and handsome as Marcus. As the young couple, Ferrara and Gross are the best part of the film. They are sweet and endearing, leaving you to root for them to make it and survive their families’ wacky antics and incessant bickering.

Mencia, a great stand-up comedian, does a good job balancing a loving but pesky father. However, Forest Whitaker, an Oscar winner, is just awkward as a womanizer. Whitaker is an accomplished actor but he fails to be a convincing lothario. Also, his serious moments while discussing love and marriage with his son fail mostly due to poor writing.
“Our Family Wedding” is watchable but not enjoyable. By the end of the film, you just wish Lucia and Marcus had eloped. Save yourself and don’t R.S.V.P. to this wedding.

Director: Rick Famuyiwa
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Starring: Carlos Mencia, Forest Whitaker, America Ferrara, Lance Gross
1/2 a clover

Contact Caitlin Ferraro at cferrar1@nd.edu