Friday, March 12, 2010

Movie Review: Our Family Wedding

This weeks rom-com is Our Family Wedding starring America Ferrera and Lance Gross from Ugly Betty and House of Payne. After finishing the movie I went up to the refreshment counter to get a refill of my large soda before heading out to the bus stop. I was asked by the person behind the counter what movie I saw and what I thought of it. Speaking to the concession person I told her it was good, not worth the price of a full ticket but maybe a matinee price. While sitting on the bus and taking the ride from the Dole Cannery where I usually see my movies to Downtown Honolulu I had a chance to reflect on what I had seen.

Then I got distracted. As the bus was passing by Iolani Palace and the Kamehameha the Great statue there were all sorts of vehicles parked along Mililani Street and around Ali'i 0 Hale indicating that some sort of filming was going on. I got off at the stop and poked for a moment. Turns out the remake of Hawaii Five-O was there doing filming. I took a picture of some trailers and posted up to my Twitter, Flickr and Facebook accounts.

The trailers were for "Danny Williams", "Chin Ho Kelly", "Steve McGarrett" and "Mary McGarrett". I then got back on the bus to complete the ride home. In case you're wondering, if you have one of the new state quarters, the Hawaii quarter has the statue on the back of the quarter and Iolani Palace is the location used for the Five-O office in the original series. On the bus I pulled myself back into thought and as I reviewed the movie in my mind realized this movie was neither romantic or a comedy, it's really a tragedy.

Ferrera plays Lucia who is in love with Marcus (Gross) but neither has told their parents the game plan to get married. The two families get together for dinner where Lucia's Mexican family gets to meet Marcus's African-American father. The two dads, Lucia's dad Miguel (Carlos Mencia) and Marcus' dad Brad (Forest Whitaker) immediately start to clash for various reasons. Even in a posh restaurant the two dads start throwing around stereotypes raising voices and embarrassing everyone. Have we seen this before? Yes we have. Take part of Guess Who and My Big Fat Greek Wedding, try to fix them into the formulaic rom-com but don't develop character depth or put in comedy and go light on the romance and you end up with this flick.

I really like Ferrera and hopefully once Ugly Betty ends, she'll have more time to pick roles better than what the role of Lucia offered her. The character didn't get enough development for us to care about her decision and why she thought standing by Marcus was a good decision.

As I watched Gross, I really didn't see much apart from what he's done as Calvin Payne. He had a lot of help around him. Taye Diggs makes a cameo. Charlie Murphy in his role talks about being a whipped husband. Warren Sapp has a moment of screen time. Ultimately, it was Calvin Payne on the screen and not a fully formed Marcus.

Mencia was not inspired at all. Every time he was on the screen I was hoping he'd soon get off the screen. Enough said about him.

Whitaker's character didn't seem realistic. As a DJ, would he really make that kind of money to support the life style that was shown. Highly doubtful.

The set up and premises were not in any way believable. From the police department to the modern bathroom to how to combine traditions the plot didn't flow. But like most romance stories, Act One thru Three: boy finds girl, boy loses girl, boy regains girl were followed.

One scene that I found difficult to take in was during the boy loses girl act. In my head, I have a heard time wrapping my brain around a dad trying to sooth his own problems with alcohol and when the son shows up with his problems the dad offers the son alcohol so they both could try to wash away their troubles with 100 proof on the rocks. Just because their personal lives are on the rocks doesn't mean you should use the same metaphor while drinking.

Was it 100% bad. No, but there was way more bad than good. The ending of the movie showing the blending of the traditions between the two cultures seemed forced. The one scene that I thought was really good was in the planning of who sits where at the reception. They had a peg board of sorts that represented the layout of tables. Using pegs to represent people and the "What if?" scenarios did get some of the biggest laughs from me and other people in the theater.

The movie ran 90 minutes and rated PG-13 for some language and some sexual content. From what I understand, Red Box on the mainland rents for a dollar a movie. That price seems about right for this instead of the price of a matinee.