The Big Wedding Review: A Train Wreck of the Most Boring Proportions
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The Big Wedding Review: A Train Wreck of the Most Boring Proportions

By Amanda Mae Meyncke | Film Reviews | April 29, 2013 | Comments ()


It absolutely cannot be emphasized enough how boring this movie is. So, so, criminally boring. Boring in a way that finds itself fascinating. A specimen from Planet Boredom. Like overhearing someone's conversation at dinner who finds themselves fascinating and witty, when everyone else in earshot is trying not to pass out from boredom.

Everyone who appears in The Big Wedding, from Robert DeNiro on down to Amanda Seyfried, must owe director and screenwriter Justin Zackham a favor the likes of which people such as you and I cannot imagine. Zackham must have donated kidneys, or saved babies from burning buildings, be mysteriously related to the entire cast or married to someone who is. There can be no other reason other than staggering obligation for any of these actors to appear in a movie so poorly conceived, so shabbily written, so lazy in every aspect of execution that it isn't even truly bad. Just lazy and mediocre. And so, from the man who wrote The Bucket List comes an all new tale that is just as relentlessly unfunny and painfully boring.


The huff and puff of the plot is this: Robert DeNiro is with Susan Sarandon, but he was married to Diane Keaton for 30 years. They don't get along now. They had three kids though, Angry Lady Katherine Heigl, The 29-Year-Old Virgin Topher Grace and the Practically Perfect in Every Way Because He's Adopted Ben Barnes who is about to marry Amanda Seyfried. Everyone has issues with everyone else, and Ben Barnes' bio-mom and sister are coming into town for the wedding, which means that the parents have to pretend they're married cause she's a Catholic. Also, Robin Williams plays a recovering alcoholic priest who is judgmental and aggressive. What fun!

Every scene sort of listlessly peters out, like the last gasps of air fluttering from a deflating balloon. Half the time the acting feels so phoned in it's as if the actors just went off script because they couldn't be bothered to learn their lines. Hopefully that is the case because nobody could truly write a script this bad and think it had enough merit to turn it into an actual movie. The worst part about it is that it isn't actually bad enough to be fun. There's no guilty pleasure to be found here, just mediocrity that is forgotten the instant the credits begin.

Heigl looks put upon and pissed, as per the usual, and projectile vomits all over DeNiro at one point. Grace is a successful doctor who is allegedly waiting to fall in love before having sex, but after meeting his adopted brother's Colombian sister and seeing her naked, decides she's the one for him and spends the rest of the movie trying to bang her. Seyfried and Barnes are mostly relegated to a few mushy forgettable scenes involving nagging and who the hell cares if they get married or not? Religion is a huge factor in the movie, but also mostly treated like a wild inconvenience that everyone must cater to even though they find it ridiculous, but none of that is ever articulated either. Keaton is annoying, as is Sarandon, and DeNiro has been phoning it in for what feels like the past decade. There is not one scrap of joy or profundity to be found in this train wreck.


The problems with the "humor" in the film are endless. There are constant attempts at verbal jokes that never land because they're 1) not funny and 2) not delivered well. Physical humor isn't really present, except at one point people bump into each other, they fall off piers into water, there's loud sex noises. Layered in are the cruel, strange asides that are meant to be funny but fail rather pathetically. There's some "shocking" moments (DeNiro sort of goes down on Sarandon! Casual country club racism! People lie about dumb stuff that adults would be able to work out!) but nothing quite offensive enough to be interesting or actually shocking.

Some sample lines people actually uttered:

"Haven't seen this much tail [around the house] since the last poochie died." DeNiro talking to and about his ex-wife and current girlfriend. They chuckled, in response.

"Who do you have to lynch for a cosmo around here?" Heigl to the air around her face in the midst of a fancy country club dinner.

"Don't get all Jane Fonda about it." DeNiro to Keaton as she attempts to make some kind of Point About Feminism.

"What's the rumpus?" Said multiple times, by different characters.

Aside from just not making very much sense, there's just no reason to care about these terrible people and their boring lives.

My initial response to the film, and original concept for the review was just the word "NOPE" writ large and I'm not the only one. The film is hovering at about 6% on RottenTomatoes. The only thing that gives me any peace about having been subjected to this is the thought of Justin Zackham, sitting alone in his house furiously googling reviews, confused and bitter, maybe claiming to his consoling wife and friends over dinner that critics just don't get it. Well buddy, after checking out the dismal box office reports, it looks like audiences just aren't getting it either.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Frank Furter

    While I'm sure this movie is absolutely dreadful, I really think the reviewer has gone overboard with the nasty, hateful tone directed at Justin Zackham. I mean, what's the guy doing but what all of us Pajiba readers dream of doing--making a living in the movie business. What's he gonna do--turn down a job? An awful lot of people signed off on this project and made the decision that Zackham was the guy for the job, so what kind of frustrated, bitter, angry failure must the reviewer be to take it out on poor Zack--wait, who wrote this review? Amanda May Meyncke? Never mind. Question answered.

  • Amanda Meyncke

    Also, Zackham? Is that you? Ha ha ha.

  • Amanda Meyncke

    No, people who squander opportunities because they're bad at what they do don't get a soft pass. If someone hands you 35 mil and competent/talented actors, then you better be ready to bring your A game.

  • Monica

    "I mean, what's the guy doing but what all of us Pajiba readers dream of doing--making a living in the movie business."

    What? I am a Pajiba reader and I don't dream of making it in the movie business. Maybe some do, but I just like movies. Do you owe Zackham a favor too or are you related to him? That's the only sensible reason I can reach as to why you'd be so defensive about a director who apparently did so little with what he was given.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    'Sort-of' goes down? Does something wacky 'go down'? Should I signal the 'rimshot'? Should I be ashamed of myself?

    I will not see myself out, I demand service!

  • Amanda Meyncke

    They get interrupted before anything happens, but panties are pulled down.

  • I think I'd watch this just for Susan Sarandon. Seriously, how fucking great did she look in the trailer?! She's in her freaking 60s!

  • bleujayone

    Since this movie had the audacity to rip off a quote from Miller's Crossing, I think I'll return the favor...sort of.

    When you're right you're right, but you never say "I told you so".
    -So, what am I right about?
    Well, I'll tell ya, but first you gotta promise not to say "I told you so".
    -I don't say that and I don't like people who do.
    This movie sucked big time all along....
    -What convinced you of that?
    -Justin Zackhan took a powder. We can't find him. Millennium Films's makin'
    excuses for him, but personally, I think you were right. I think him and DeNiro was in it together. I think Zackham heard the reviews, and lit out. The lousy sonofabitch.
    -I told you so.

  • CheeseNrice

    In this country, the word "lynch" carries pretty specific connotations. I'm sure any African-American working on the movie could have told them that, but I'm going to go out on a limb (that was intentional) and say there weren't any.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I think that's the joke. The country club is so white, that to get a cosmo you need to prove yourself with a lynching.

  • e jerry powell

    True, DeNiro hasn't been DeNiro in a long time, but damn, he looks good in this one. Too bad I can't turn the sound off at a movie theater.

  • Erich

    Does DeNiro have a crippling gambling addiction?
    Because a desperate need for money is the only thing I can think of that would make him accept so many terrible roles in horrible movies.

  • Lee

    If DeNiro is in a movie, I've learned to avoid it like the plague.

  • God Of Bal-Sagoth

    “What’s the rumpus?” Said multiple times, by different characters.

    NONONONONONONO. They did not DARE to steal that classic bit from the wonderful Miller's Crossing.

    They have sullied my memory of that great film. For shame.

  • disqus_N4EigheiZo

    Does anyone in this movie explain why Ben Barnes gets cast in things where he plays ethnically ambiguous? Because really, blandly handsome should only get you so far.

  • Amanda Meyncke

    No, and it's kind of weird, because there's a scene where they talk about how "brown" he is and how he and Seyfried are gonna have "beige" babies, but he and Topher Grace look just as tan as each other, and Barnes just seemed rich and tan, not Colombian.

  • BWeaves

    My 80 year old parents loved it. And so did the rest of the 80 year olds in the audience, according to them.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Yay, Amanda is back!

    Like overhearing someone’s conversation at dinner who finds themselves fascinating and witty, when everyone else in earshot is trying not to pass out from boredom.

    I'm pretty sure you're referring to me. I cannot fault your judgement.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I appreciate your sacrifice.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I wonder when Diane Keaton would like to try acting again, instead of just being fluttery and indignant or "empowered."

    And it *totally* makes sense that a doctor would fall in immediate love/lust after seeing someone naked.

  • PaddyDog

    I've pretty much decided Annie Hall was an anomaly that simply had good writing written specifically to Keaton's personality. Almost everything she has done since then has been mediocre at best.

  • Natallica

    This! Oh, my God, THIS!!!!

  • Lee

    I second THIS!!!

  • Mrs. Julien

    I saw an interview recently where she herself agrees with you. Keaton said that she was only ever good when she had the script and a great director behind her.

    Exhibit B: Reds is a masterpiece and she is wonderful in it.

  • PaddyDog

    Yes, I'll give you Reds. But hopefully no-one is going to jump in with The Godfather because to me she was a waste of space in all three movies.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Damn straight!

  • Mrs. Julien

    "It was an abortion, Michael, like our marriage is an abortion!"

    Second worst line reading in film history, right after, "Is it still raining? I hadn't noticed."

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Double damn, I was thinking about the same thing about Andie.

  • $27019454

    There are directors who bring out the very best in her. Warren and Woody, yes, but am I going to get egged if I say that Nancy Meyers got the goods out of her in Something's Gotta Give? It's a "meh" movie but she is lovely in it. *duck and run*

  • Sara_Tonin00

    You are right. Consider yourself egged. She pretty much just seemed as she ever is.

  • Mrs. Julien


  • Sara_Tonin00

    You are a fan of John Irving and you're going to rail about Nancy Meyers' sexism?!

  • Mrs. Julien

    Mostly, I was just acknowledging the Owen Meany-ness of my comment style.

    I have enough umbrage to go 'round.

  • $27019454

    Upvoted because that BOOK WAS AWESOME!

  • PaddyDog

    Hmm! I thought she was just the same character she always plays (with the same wardrobe) in Something's Gotta Give, but I'll admit to a guilty fondness for that film because I can never get enough of that beach house (beach mansion?). Nancy Meyers is my house porn enabler.

  • Mrs. Julien


  • $27019454

    Is that why I like it? IS IT? I am such a house-porn slut.

  • You should check out There is a whole section devoted to movie/tv houses and there are so many good ones listed.

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