Starring: Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Katherine Heigl, Ben Barnes, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace, Robin Williams, Christine Ebersole, David Rasche, Patricia Rae, Ana Ayora, Kyle Bornheimer
Directed By: Justin Zackham
It’s almost impossible to hate a movie with this cast. I realize this is an easy target for critics, because the movie itself is so mediocre, but it’s not an awful movie. It just is unnecessary. It doesn’t really go anywhere, or offer anything new. It also refuses to challenge the actors in the film with any good material. That being said, it is really easy for such terrific actors to excel in such incredibly bland roles. For that, I think the film is saved a little bit.
Alejandro (Barnes) is getting married to Missy (Seyfried). They’re both well educated, and their families are super rich. Alejandro was adopted by Don (DeNiro) and Ellie (Keaton), who have since divorced. Don is now with Bebe (Sarandon), who was Ellie’s best friend. Everyone has remained amicable, it seems, though no one has spoken to each other in years. This wedding brings everyone together. Alejandro has two siblings, Lyla (Heigl) and Jared (Grace). Lyla’s story is that she can’t get pregnant, so she broke it off with her husband (Bornheimer) right before Alejandro’s wedding. Jared’s plot development revolves around him needing to lose his virginity (no, I’m serious, that’s the plot they gave Topher Grace). Alejandro throws a big bomb into the family when he announces he invited his birth mother (Rae) to the wedding. She brings along his sister (I think), who Jared immediately develops a crush on. Mild drama ensues. Williams is underused as a recovering alcoholic priest.
I say MILD drama. This movie refuses to tackle any major issues, and everything is resolved nicely with a neat bow on top. Everyone forgives everyone for everything ever. The movie is entirely beneath everyone involved. For their part, the actors pretty much all seemed to enjoy making the film, and work well as a unit. Keaton is the only one I might say felt like she was “phoning it in”. Maybe she was only drawn to the project so she could work with Sarandon and DeNiro again. Williams could be accused of phoning it in, but I would argue he is underutilized in the first place. Don’t cast a known funny man in what could be a funny role, and then not allow him to do his schtick.
This could have been an awful movie with a different cast, but somehow they make it work. This really is an example of making lemonade from lemons. I’m not sure I would recommend this film to anyone, as it is largely a pointless film. But if you find yourself stuck watching it, you’ll be surprised at how you didn’t actually hate it by the time it is finally over. Well, you’ll hate the film, but you’ll still love the cast. It’s odd how that works out.
FINAL GRADE: C+