Welcome to what may take the cake as the worst film of 2013. You heard it here first. Actually, I don’t believe that. You’ve probably heard it everywhere. For a $35 million film, with a cast including Robert De Niro, Amanda Seyfried and Topher Grace (remember him? Apparently he’s still around), The Big Wedding failed to deliver on absolutely every count. And I mean everything.
The storyline is pretty straightforward. Big wedding filled with rich, white people who are slightly different because 20+ years ago they decided to adopt a Columbian boy named Alejandro (Ben Barnes), who is now getting married to the love of his life (who is very, very white), Missy (Amanda Seyfried). For those who are wondering why I keep bringing up their skin colour, trust me, it’s a vital point of the film. And by vital I mean, ‘brazen excuse to use racism as a hilarious joke’. Also, as a sidenote, I’d like to point out that the ‘Columbian’ who is essentially the spoke in the wheel, is actually played by a decidedly white English actor. But let’s carry on, shall we?
Alejandro’s parents, Don (Robert De Niro) and Ellie (Diane Keaton) have been divorced for a number of years, but when Alejandro’s biological, very religious, and very Columbian (still relevant) mother arrives, they have to pretend to be married so as not to disappoint her. Makes complete sense. Only problem is (there are numerous problems, what am I saying?) Don has a long-term girlfriend, Bebe (Susan Sarandon), who suddenly has to disappear.
Then, as I assume the writer, producer and director of this film, Justin Zackham, (because, let’s be honest, no one else was going to be convinced to write, produce or direct this atrocity) hoped, hilarity and gaiety ensure, the audience has a merry old laugh and we walk out of the film being glad that Topher Grace still has a career.
Also, Katherine Heigl has a part in this film. Nothing really worth a mention of (despite being a fairly large character), but I wanted everyone to know she was also a part of this awful, awful mess.
Where shall I start? Let’s start with the rampant racism that is across this entire film. Although Missy’s thoroughly white family are considered a bit stupid to care about Alejandro’s racial background, the rest of the characters continue to perpetuate the problem. Firstly, the idea that they couldn’t just tell a woman that, you know, divorce happens and it happened to them. Secondly, that she couldn’t speak any English so they could continue to talk about her and their false marriage right in front of her (ho ho! Let’s make a joke about the fact that some people aren’t as smart as us because they can’t speak English). Or thirdly, that her daughter, Nuria, is incredibly beautiful and also continually up for getting her kit and her rocks off. Because let’s all continue the stereotype that Latino women are sluts, shall we?
Then there is the ridiculous concepts that these characters have about relationships and sex. I’ll try to break it down for you, so try to keep up (it’s fine if you don’t, the storyline is terrible and I’m impressed if you’re still paying attention). Here we go.
Don and Ellie were married for 20 years.
Don cheated and left his wife for her best friend, Bebe, whom he is still with to this day.
While Don and Ellie are pretending to be married they decide to have sex again, just so Ellie can determine if she is really, truly over Don (apparently, she is).
Bebe is OK with that since, in the beginning, she essentially stole Ellie’s husband.
Ellie is OK that Bebe stole her husband all those years ago, because back then she cheated on Don with Missy’s father, Barry.
Barry’s wife, Muffin, is OK with this because she is actually a closet lesbian.
And then, to cap it all off, brother Jared, who is 29, and still a virgin because he is waiting for love. Until he sees naked Nuria and she says “let’s have sex tonight”! (Once again, not perpetuating any racial prejudices of course). He’s all up for it, and she makes him work for it (flowers, breakfast in bed, really hard stuff to achieve of course), but then, she decides she doesn’t want to do it.
Yes! A moment when this film gets something right. A woman deciding she doesn’t have to have sex with anyone, that she is allowed to make choices, that she is an independent wom…
Hang on. No wait. The next 2 minutes consist of Jared basically trying her to convince her to sleep with him because ‘he deserves it’. And really, considering he made her breakfast in bed and she decided that she did want to have sex with him (no matter that she changed her mind), she does owe him. Because that’s how healthy sexual relationships work.
And of course, because this is meant to be a hilarious rom-com where everyone ends up happy, they decide to have sex. Oh wonderful! Thank you Justin Zackham for catering to the needs of potential rapists, dickheads and anyone who has wanted something they shouldn’t have! Seriously, I can take most things in a film, but this? This? That she OWES it to him? That because she got naked and swam in front of him, he DEMANDS sex? What on EARTH were you thinking when you wrote these lines? And that he eventually gets his way? Great. Thank you. Just for anyone who has watched this film, I hope you did what I did and mentally punched Jared square in the face. Because he is an example of what is wrong with our society.
On top of that, the supposed hilarity of families, partners, friends and loved ones cheating, lying and hurting one another because they can’t keep it in their pants. How on earth is this meant to be funny? Oh, you stole my husband from me, and you were meant to be my best friend, but don’t worry, I’ll get you back over a decade later. And then we’ll both be OK with it, because come on, men will be men and Don can’t help keeping it in his pants! Ho ho! Let’s add sexism to the list of atrocities in this film.
Can I just very quickly, put something out there? Cheating is awful. It is wrong. It is immoral and it causes so much pain. It is not fodder for a romantic comedy. It isn’t funny. It isn’t romantic and on top of that, it’s really not all that clever or classy either.
So, now that I’ve essentially ruined the plot for anyone who planned on seeing this film, and ripped it to shreds (sorry if you did like it though), let’s remember who was in this film. Remember when De Niro was cool? When Sarandon was in fantastic films like Thelma and Louise? When Seyfried had witty one-liners in Mean Girls?
All of these actors chose to be in this film.
While I went into this film knowing it was going to be bad, and a bit stupid, I thought I would still have a bit of fun. That I could switch my brain off for a couple of hours and just look at pretty people.
I have learnt my lesson.
Don’t watch this film. Don’t tell anyone to watch this film. And if you have already seen this film, I sincerely feel sorry for you.
While I don’t usually have a star system, let’s assume I usually have one, and there’s a reason why I have included no stars. Because this film is awful.
Have you seen The Big Wedding? Did it make you cry? Did it make you lose all hope in filmmaking? Or, am I over thinking everything, and you found it to be a blast? Let me know!