Our Family Wedding opens Friday throughout the Triangle
Nobody falls for the "wedding that heals society" plot harder than I, but once uttered, some bad words cannot be taken back. Such is the case with Our Family Wedding, a rebooted Guess Who's Coming to Dinner that amounts to a racist rom-com for a supposedly postracial society. The premise sounds promising enough: A Latino family and an African-American family must get acquainted and overcome their cultural differences as their respective children, Lucia (America Ferrera) and Marcus (Lance Gross), announce their plans to wed.
It's understandable that Forest Whitaker (as one patriarch) might want to be a little whimsical, that Carlos Mencia (as the other) might want to escape from Comedy Central hell and that Ferrera might seek a future after the cancellation (sob) of Ugly Betty. But a film that features a goat on Viagra? That has not one but two wedding-cake food fights? A film where a vase, if described as valuable, must be broken?
That groan of agony in the darkened theater is me.
Rather than the young couple, it's the future fathers-in-law who meet cute, in an encounter involving a tow truck and an illegally parked luxury car. But the scene quickly degenerates, as do many others, into an uncomfortable exchange of racial slurs. The couple at the center of the movie is bland (although Ferrera tries); they are on their saintly way to do humanitarian work in Laos. Why are they in love? Because they're pretty and the script says so.
Director Rick Famuyiwa hasn't a clue how to shoot even a simple conversation, and when in doubt, he reverts to dumb-ass slapstick that makes an Abbott and Costello routine look like Oscar Wilde. Plus, talk about fantasy! Only in the movies can one pull off an elaborate wedding in three weeks (and trust me, if by some miracle Monique Lhuillier has the perfect sample dress in your size, you wouldn't even be able to get it back from the cleaners that fast).
I don't wish these people ill. Well, maybe Mr."A Rick Famuyiwa Film." Audiences long for smart, romantic, diverse movies. People—and by that I mean you, Our Family Wedding writers and directors of color—must do better.