It’s hard to put a price on a wedding, especially if you have to sit through a bad wedding movie. Luckily, director Rick Famuyiwa doesn’t cut any corners in helping America Ferrera and Lance Gross down the aisle in “Our Family Wedding”.
Lucia (America Ferrera) and Marcus (Lance Gross) are getting ready to embark on two of the longest trips of their young lives. The first, to see their parents in New York to announce their plans for the second, a yearlong trip to Laos so newly graduated Dr. Marcus can spend time helping the less fortunate in Doctors without Borders. Meanwhile their prospective father-in-laws are having their own connection as Lucia’s father Miguel (Carlos Mencia) tows away Marcus’ father Brad’s convertible.
Like wearing biker shorts to a job interview, every first impression leads to a near Springer episode. Lucia’s grandmother passes out as though she’s never seen a black person upon meeting Marcus and Marcus and Brad’s reunion at the family dinner makes for a comedic hate at second sight. Fortunately, Marcus’ surrogate mom Angela (Regina King) and Lucia’s mother Sonia (Diana-Maria Riva) remind men and couple alike that it’s “Our marriage, their wedding”. Although both fathers want to stop the nuptuals, it turns out that they have their own relationship back yards to clean up. Miguel and Sonia’s marriage has lost it’s spark and Playboy Brad is conflicted over his feelings with Angela.
“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” brought America’s black-white culture clash to the forefront over forty years ago, netting two Oscars and spawning dialogue about America’s issues with race. It also caused numerous cinematic offspring along the way from “Meet the Parents” to “Guess Who”. While Famuyiwa pays tribute to the original in spirit, he also avoids the mistakes of past incarnations by managing to inject comedy and sends the message that no matter the cultural differences that love for the family and it’s accompanying neuroses are ultimately binds us.
Lance Gross (“House of Payne”) and America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”) have a big screen chemistry that belies their small screen work of late. Although the respective actors seem to spend more time with their onscreen parents, there’s enough spark between them that proves a little goes a long way. Comedian Carlos Mencia toned down his standup vibe just enough to be believable as the overbearing father of the bride, but while showcasing his comedy chops. Oscar winner Forrest Whitaker isn’t known for comedy, but going toe to toe with Mencia should definitely open some eyes. Anjelah Johnson as Ferrara’s snarky sister Isabella steals scenes almost from the time she arrives onscreen. You’ll be looking forward to whatever she does next.
“Our Family Wedding” doesn’t have the racially charged cloud of it’s 1960’s predecessor, but director Rick Famuyiwa proves that you can contemporize a classic without becoming a cheap knockoff. The ensemble cast flexes their acting chops without appearing overly maudlin or goofy (save for one viagra eating goat). No matter what side of the aisle you sit on, you’ll find this wedding to be worth arriving on time for.
“Our Family Wedding” Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and brief strong language. Running time: 108 minutes. In Nationwide release
“Our marriage, their wedding” becomes the mantra as our couple has to jump through hoops and endure a certain amount of embarrassment and parental disobedience.