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.