Based on the 2006 French film Mon Frère Se Marie, Justin Zackham’s The Big Wedding is a huge misfire that squanders its collection of stars on cardboard-thin caricatures and tone-deaf comedy, while daring to try and wring unearned emotional pathos from ridiculous set-ups free of any recognisably human interactions.
The main thrust of the film’s numerous plot strands concerns a long-divorced couple Don and Ellie (De Niro and Keaton), who find themselves in each other’s company again for the wedding of their adoptive Columbian son Alejandro (played by Barnes, English and not at all Columbian). To keep up a facade Alejandro has fed to his devoutly religious biological mother, who is travelling to America for the wedding, the two exes must pretend to be married again for three days, upsetting Don’s current flame Bebe (Sarandon) and the smoothness of the extravagant wedding process.
Built on chaotically disparate tones and extremely broad jokes that never hit their mark, The Big Wedding is completely devoid of laughs. It’s also fuelled by some repugnant misogyny, homophobia and stereotyping of particular races, making it the perfect accompaniment to I Give It a Year, another disastrous and offensive marriage comedy from earlier this year. Engagement of one’s time with either film is equally objectionable. [Josh Slater-Williams]