‘Father of the Bride’ review: The third time is not a charm in a remake

Andy Garcia finds a new dimension as a confused Cuban-American father, but the latest version of this classic story is unusually dark.

Here’s a weird feeling: the feeling of being of the same name the father of the bride is right when it comes to his many fears about a possible happy event that will swallow his life, for better or for worse. Edward Streeter’s 1949 novel The Father of the Bride inspired Vincente Minnelli’s best film nomination in 1950 and Charles Shyer’s 1991 version (plus sequels and even TV series), and now the story gets another rethink, this time through the prism of a colorful and complicated Cuban-American family led Andy Garcia as an appropriately added patriarch.

While many of the film’s rhythms are familiar, the version of this classic family comedy directed by Gary Alazraki often misses one essential ingredient: real humor. His heart is in the right place, but even his craziest turns – including “SNL” star Chloe Fineman trying to portray the indelible wedding planner Martin Short Franck, plus a fresh look at the two families at his center – lag behind previous versions, and find are clumsily tucked away next to far more serious subplots.

Garciin Billy Herrera often feels less crazy and far more pragmatic than his predecessors. It’s a solid performance, but the limitations of Matt Lopez’s script mean it’s not fun and that lightness and ease are missing every inch of what should be a comic dunk. Billy is a dreamer and hard worker, an immigrant who arrived in this country with nothing – one of his favorite pastimes is sharing increasingly embellished versions of the story of his arrival in America – who became so immersed in his own ways that he alienated his beloved family. These include his longtime wife Ingrid (Gloria Estefan), who is still hungry for new experiences, plus the couple’s two daughters, apparently favorite child Sofia (Adria Arjona) and her more unusual younger sister Cora (Isabel Merced).

In fact, when the movie starts, Billy and Ingrid are close to divorce. It’s hardly a quick, romantic start to a story about the power of true love, but it serves to further torment Billy. Ingrid wants a divorce just as Sofia announces she wants u, after falling in love with fellow lawyer Adan (Diego Bonet), who shares her dreams of moving to Mexico and working to help immigrants find a better life that Billy invented long ago. But who exactly is Adan? When did Sofia fall in love with this guy? Why do they have to get married in a hurry, throwing everything in the family in a mess? How exactly will Billy write down his personal drama as everyone runs towards the Chapel of Love?

We know this lineup and we know it’s full of comedy and fun, but there’s something distinctly darker about this entry. While the films “Father of the Bride” have always followed the emotional arc of the eponymous father, Alazraki’s scene can never completely break the strange sadness that opens him up. Why wouldn’t Billy oppose a quick marriage?

Father of the brideANDY GARCIA as Billy and ADRIA ARJONA as SophieCR: Claudette Barius / Warner Bros.

“Father of the Bride”

Claudette Barius

Things get very funny: Feynman’s appearance as Natalie Vance’s crazy wedding planner gives a certain lightness (her pronunciation of “Latinx” is currently cult), but she never reaches the dizzying heights of Short’s understanding of well-intentioned stupidity. Billy and Ingrid’s extended family gives a little pop, though most of these characters remain just one note and are pushed aside to make room for Adan’s stunningly rich (and fun out of touch) clan. The plot of Korin’s struggles to get rid of his sister’s shadow is randomly picked up and dropped, and often seems to be the basis for a story that should already have a lot.

While the film was set in Miami, it was shot in Atlanta. This southern city is a good substitute for some sequences, but rarely records a picturesque locality that should be emulated. Worse are a few green sequences that look like they were filmed on a dark set, not on a sun-drenched canal or a yacht for parties. Eventually, we know, Sofia and Adana’s wedding will take place at Herrera’s house (the main part of this franchise), but before we get there, the family has been relocated to various locations which, again, only seem to extend the duration. (One exception is the crazy mega-villa that Adan’s dad buys to host the inflated wedding of his dreams, which was ruined in a spectacular Florida way.)

Coming to this blessed event on Herreras ’own estate is the main reason for the film’s existence, but this“ Father of the Bride ”is leaning towards it in an increasingly tumultuous style. Family ties are sweet and often fun, but fierce quarrels often rule the haven. Was Billy right that he wanted to stop this event? For the first time in the history of this franchise, yes.

Rating: C +

“Father of the Bride” begins airing on HBO Max on Thursday, June 16th.

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