A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this imperfect, but heartfelt family-friendly film attempts to address a challenging subject: interracial marriage. In doing so, it doesn’t quite steer clear of clichés, but does entertain while at least partly moving the discussion forward. Stereotyping (including making jokes about Latinos' ability to speak English) dilutes what could’ve made this into a thought-provoking comedy about race. There's some swearing (including "s--t"), social drinking (and one scene of drunkeness), and a bit of kissing and groping between adults.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Lucia (America Ferrera) and Marcus (Lance Gross) arrive in Los Angeles brimming with excitement: They want to get married right away and better the world overseas as a couple (he with Doctors Without Borders, she by teaching). But snafus pile up immediately, notably an argument that erupts between Lucia’s father, Miguel Ramirez (Carlos Mencia), the owner of a towing company that hauls off a car owned by Marcus’ dad, radio personality Brad Boyd (Forest Whitaker). What’s more, the two families can’t quite get over the fact that each side is a different race and culture. (Lucia is Latina; Marcus is African American.) Can they get to the church without the wedding planning and culture clashes getting in the way?
Is it any good?
OUR FAMILY WEDDING is a film you want to like; the actors, notably Mencia and Anjelah Johnson as Lucia’s younger sister, Isabella, bring their A-game, and the plot’s got loads of potential. And it lives up to some of its promise with moments steeped in authenticity, as when Lucia’s mother laments how she’s become nearly invisible to her well-meaning husband. The movie, in fact, deals with marital ennui with welcome compassion.
But its potential to offer more wit and insight is squelched by its reliance on stereotypes to get its point across. A typical exchange: Miguel and Brad get under each other’s skins by saying “bro” and “hombre” with disdain. And yes, there are jokes about whether Lucia's relatives understand English. Everyone behaves badly, and in broad, intolerant strokes. Surely, there must’ve been a subtler way to depict the anxieties that arise when two very different families are joined by marriage. Plus, are wayward animals a must now in comedies? A sexed-up goat makes an appearance to add some much-needed zaniness to the proceedings, but it’s no competition for The Hangover’s tiger.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stereotypes. Do you think the film went over the top in its depiction of the culture clash that ensues between Lucia’s and Marcus’ relatives? Were some of the stereotypical jokes offensive?
Talk about the couple’s decision to marry, and how they spring it on their respective families. Are their reactions understandable? Why, or why not?
- In theaters: March 12, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: July 13, 2010
- Cast: America Ferrera, Carlos Mencia, Forest Whitaker, Lance Gross, Regina King
- Director: Rick Famuyiwa
- Studio: Fox Searchlight
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some sexual content and brief strong language
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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