Review: The Big Wedding

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

PLOT: A dysfunctional family, which includes two divorced parents (Robert De Niro & Diane Keaton), his new girlfriend/her ex-best friend (Susan Sarandon), their two grown-up kids (Katherine Heigl & Topher Grace), and an adopted son (Ben Barnes) reunite for a family wedding. Hilarity ensues. Well, actually, no it doesn’t…

REVIEW: Sigh, I figured THE BIG WEDDING was going to be an ordeal right from the release of the first poster, which shows the family in a so-called “jolly” pose that seems to suggest “oh, what a great time we’re having making this hilarious movie!!! Just wait until you get to see it!!! Oh, the fun!!!”. Oh, the pain is more like it.

THE BIG WEDDING feels like a lost film left over from the early nineties, like the kind of studio crap Hollywood Pictures used to put out in the early nineties before they were put out of their misery. Twenty years ago, this would have starred James Belushi. Now, Robert De Niro ends up in the Belushi role (Belushi would have been better). How did this happen? In fact, how did Millennium Pictures manage to assemble such a high-profile cast? I’m not surprised seeing someone like Katherine Heigl, or Topher Grace here, but Amanda Seyfried? And Diane Keaton? I can only hope they got paid buckets of cash, because this is a rank embarrassment that everyone involved will no doubt be keen to forget.

If SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK was an example of the right kind of roles De Niro should be playing, THE BIG WEDDING is a textbook example of the WRONG kind. This is like a bad eighties-sitcom, with the characters acting in a way that suggests the film was written by aliens who’ve only ever heard humans speak though watching DVDs they found in a trash bin outside a suburban Wal-Mart. How else do you explain a movie where Ben Barnes plays a Colombian named Alejandro (he’s De Niro/Keaton’s adopted son)? Really? Couldn’t you have at least cast someone…gee, I don’t know- COLOMBIAN!!! Or at least vaguely South American?

Meanwhile, Topher Grace plays a thirty year old virgin, who’s saving himself for love (awww); only to immediately try to bed Barnes’ Columbian sister that’s he’s just met. And Katherine Heigl’s trying to get pregnant, but is fighting with her husband. It’s all very tragic…

De Niro himself just plain stinks as the philandering Dad, with him phoning in the role worse than he did in the last FOCKERS movie. Keaton plays exactly the kind of role she’s played over and over, while Sarandon at least seems to be trying, although a (stupid) subplot where Keaton and De Niro have to pretend to still be married means she’s sidelined for most of the movie. Other than Sarandon, Robin Williams tries hard to wring a few laughs out of the premise as a newly sober priest, but faced with the screenplay by Justin Zackham (writer of THE BUCKET LIST- gulp); he’s not able to do much.

I really hated THE BIG WEDDING, but I’ll give it this: it’s better than SCARY MOVIE 5. There- I found something to praise, even in a terrible, terrible “film” like this. Never say I don’t try to look on the bright side of things.

The Big Wedding



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About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.