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Our Family Wedding
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Our Family Wedding – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

How lovely. Lucia (America Ferrera) and Marcus (Lance Gross) have fallen in love and are engaged to be married. What could go wrong?
This is the movies – so the answer, of course, is everything – or at least as much as you can squeeze in to 103 minutes.
She comes from a Hispanic family, while Marcus is black. Her dad Miguel (Carlos Mencia) is a self-made, blue-collar millionaire, who runs a car garage and tow company. His dad Brad (Forest Whitaker) is a late night radio show host.
Just their luck, even as Lucia and Marcus are flying home to LA to host a dinner for both sets of parents, unbeknownst to the grown-ups, Miguel tows away Brad’s illegally parked car.
When they all finally meet up in the restaurant, discomfort is heaped on top of embarrassment when it becomes clear that even if you forget about the car being towed, Miguel isn’t having his daughter marry a black guy and Brad certainly isn’t having his son marry some Mexican.
The stage is set for a cliché-filled culture-clash comedy.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

Narratively, this is just about as formulaic as predictable as they come – but emotionally, if you’re in the mood for this kind of saccharine nonsense, it’ll hit the right notes.
Some of the humour seems – to an outsider – rather close to the bone – the kind of gags, comments or insults that no white film-maker or at least white characters could get away with uttering in 2010.
But for the right audiences it works, in the sense that young black audiences will laugh at how backward the old generation of black characters are, while older black characters will laugh at the insults their contemporaries throw at the Hispanic characters – and the same will work in reverse.
Much like the recent Death at a Funeral remake, this film is very much targeted at a specific demographic – or in this case, I suppose, two demographics. Outsiders are likely to find it irritating, twee and the more liberal viewers could find it offensive on behalf of the two communities involved.
There’s almost nothing clever in this film at all – certainly none of the performances – but to some, the dialogue will feel embarrassingly realistic – and even people from other communities will recognise the generational awkwardness that comes from introducing your parents to your partner – or indeed meeting your baby’s other half for the first time.
It’s not well made and has nothing new to offer, but it’s harmless enough and at the right stage of your life, if you’re in the right mood and can identify with cross-cultural embarrassment, there are worse ways to pass 103 minutes.
There are more better ways, though.

Opens nationwide 18th June 2010

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