Dir: Rick Famuyiwa. US. 2010. 97mins
A clumsy and stunningly unamusing mixed-race wedding romp, Our Family Wedding is a tired series of clichés and racial stereotyping that flails around looking for a gag and ends up falling flat on its face. This low-key Fox release is unlikely to make a dent at any box-office, though may stagger up the aisle on home entertainment release.
Regina King is on-hand to add a little bit of class to the proceedings.
Law student Lucia Ramirez (America Ferrera, who actually manages to retain her charm and dignity throughout the proceedings) heads back to LA with fiancé Marcus (Gross) to tell their respective parents about their engagement. Since she is Latina and he is black the scene is set for laughs a-plenty (in theory) as the families clash, stereotypes are upheld and insults hurled.
Her father Miguel (Mencia) is a hard-working family-man who runs a car-towing service while Marcus’s father Brad (Whitaker) is a super-cool late-night DJ with a series of young girlfriends. Naturally the two hate each other on sight, but in typical by-the-numbers scripting come to appreciate each other as time draws on.
Most crass is Lucie’s grandmother (Lupe Ontiveros) – whose main screen job seems to be to screech in Spanish - who promptly faints in horror and surprise when first introduced to Lucie’s fiancé.
Thankfully Regina King is on-hand to add a little bit of class to the proceedings, playing lawyer Angela, the long-time best friend of Brad who helped bring up Marcus and who also happens to be a little in love with Brad. She is cool and sophisticated and deserves a lot more from the film.
Naturally prejudices are largely overcome as the wedding day draws nearer – but sadly this only sets up the opportunity for director Rick Famuyiwa to half-heartedly head into slapstick territory. The most desperate attempt at humour comes from a goat munching on a whole load of Viagra tablets, but even this ‘funny’ plot-line goes nowhere and quickly runs out of steam.
Production companies: Sneak Preview Entertainment, Fox Searchlight Pictures
US distribution: Twentieth Century Fox
Producers: Edward Saxon, Steven J Wolfe
Screenplay: Wayne Conley, Malcolm Spellman, Rick Famuyiwa, story by Wayne Conley
Cinematography: Julio Macat
Production designer: Linda Burton
Editor: Dirk Westervelt
Main cast: Forest Whitaker, America Ferrera, Carlos Mencia, Regina King, Lance Gross, Diana Maria Riva, Anjelah Johnson