Friday, 16 August 2013

Father Of The Bride (1991)

After such a fantastic run of movies in the 1980s, Steve Martin started the '90s with some less anarchic films that would indicate the direction his career would take over the next few decades. He still had greatness to give, but most of his movies would fall into the category of either remake or safe, family fare. Father Of The Bride is both.

Martin plays George Banks, the man who ends up acting a bit funny when he's told by his daughter (Kimberly Williams) that she wants to get married (to a young man named Brian, played by George Newbern). George's wife, Nina (Diane Keaton), is very pleased with the news, but all seems to go from bad to worse as George sees the wedding plans - put together by Franck (Martin Short) and Howard (BD Wong) - escalate while his bank balance just keeps shrinking.

Based on the enjoyable original movie (which starred Spencer Tracy in the lead role), Father Of The Bride is a gentle comedy full of many identifiable moments for parents of either gender. You just never stop worrying about your kids, and never stop seeing them as the small and vulnerable little ones that you spent so many years looking after. Martin and Diane Keaton are suitably parental in their roles, with one being stressed out and overly critical while the other is happy and caught up in the moment. Williams and Newbern are both sweet youngsters, often oblivious to how their actions affect those that love them, and Kieran Culkin is young Matty Banks, a boy who doesn't mind being slightly overlooked while things are being prepared for his sister's big day. Short and Wong are both hilarious as the wedding co-ordinators, and Peter Michael-Goetz and Kate McGregor-Stewart (playing the parents of Brian) do well with their relatively short amount of screentime.

The direction by Charles Shyer is okay, though a bit flat and bland, and Shyer also contributed to the script, co-written with Nancy Meyers (working with the screenplay from the original movie, written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett). There are a number of nice little nods to the original movie, but things are also updated nicely and smoothly enough. Which makes this a decent remake that may not be the best thing on the filmography of anyone involved, but doesn't sully the good memory of the original either.

It might not be a film that you now rush out to see, but catch it whenever it comes on TV and you may find yourself amused for the runtime.


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