A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Big Wedding is racier than most family wedding comedies and could make for an uncomfortable parent-teen movie night. There's lots of sexual content -- the opening scene shows Robert De Niro about to perform oral sex on Susan Sarandon -- as well as discussion of virginity, sexual orientation, and open marriage. There's also adultery, public displays of (more than) affection and brief nudity (a woman's naked behind is visible as she skinny dips). In addition to the sex jokes and sex scenes, you can expect frequent strong language ("f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," etc.) and drinking (the father and the priest are both alcoholics).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Ellie (Diane Keaton) is returning to her former home with her ex-husband, Don (Robert De Niro), for the wedding weekend of their Colombian adopted son, Alejandro (Ben Barnes), and his fiancee, Melissa (Amanda Seyfried). But when Alejandro realizes that his devout Catholic birth mother, Madonna (Patricia Rae), doesn't know that his parents are divorced, he asks them to pretend to be married for the weekend. This means that Don's live-in girlfriend (and Ellie's former best friend), Bebe (Susan Sarandon), has to move out, and older siblings Lyla (Katherine Heigl) and Jared (Topher Grace) all have to play along. When Madonna and her beautiful sister, Nuria (Ana Ayora), arrive, the already dysfunctional family is thrown into disarray trying to keep Don and Ellie's divorce a secret.
Is it any good?
How such a talented group of actors could have signed on for such a mediocre comedy is a mystery. Writer-director Justin Zackham has included so many ridiculous plot points in THE BIG WEDDING that the entire movie is hard not to scoff through -- like the idea that Ellie would be so forgiving to a best friend who slept with her husband, or that long-divorced exes would have sex when one of them is in a committed relationship, or that a 29-year-old virgin who promised to wait for love would forget all of that at the sight of a his adopted brother's hot Colombian birth sister. The examples go on and on, and instead of being funny, they just make it obvious why the movie is little more than a series of gags strung together over one ludicrous weekend.
It's a shame that such a talented ensemble couldn't have gathered for a better movie. Instead, The Big Wedding will make audiences wistful for far funnier wedding or family reunion comedies like Father of the Bride, Meet the Parents, or My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Sure, there are a few laughs, but for the most part, the only impressive aspect of the movie (which at one point devolves into a feature-length homage to sexagenarian sexuality) is that British actor Barnes (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian) ably pulls off playing a bilingual Colombian American.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of wedding movies. Why are weddings such a popular setting for both drama and comedy?
Discuss the idea that family is more than biology. How does Alejandro view his family? Why are Bebe and Ellie able to overcome the adultery in their past? Do you think the family's interactions are believable?
Alejandro's ethnicity is brought up again and again as a matter of concern to Melissa's Caucasian parents. Do you think racial and ethnic prejudice are still prevalent in American society?
- In theaters: April 26, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: August 13, 2013
- Cast: Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon
- Director: Justin Zackham
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language, sexual content and brief nudity
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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