Father Of The Bride (1991)

Starring: Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, George Newbern, Kieran Culkin, BD Wong, and Martin Short.

Directed By: Nancy Meyers

Where i Watched It: Spectrum. With Access!

English Audio Description Available?: Yes

The Plot: Basically following the same structure as the original, George banks (Martin) finds his life once again upended when his daughter (Williams-Paisley) announces she’s marrying a man he’s never met (Newbern), and he has to throw his favorite baby girl a wedding.

This is one of those films I’m not sure how many times I’ve actually seen it. it’s a film that used to benefit from a high rotation on cable, which is no surprise it was on cable when i needed it. Back before streaming, when we used to channel surf, we would often drop into movies in progress, and this was one I did that a lot to. And, of course, The Shawshank Redemption like the rest of America.

But, cramming all the Father Of The Bride movies into one made me appreciate the little things they kept from the original, like the scene where dad tells his daughter to wear a coat because it’s chilly, but she doesn’t listen until her new fiancée suggests it. But they also made changes to highlight Steve Martin’s penchant for physical comedy, allowing him to hang out of a building, and have plenty of scenes with some dogs that really don’t like him. Another big change was putting Martin Short in the wedding planner role greatly increased the amount of screentime that character had. Plus, now the younger brother is a lot younger.

But the intention is still here, to tell a story about a man whose life is blown apart when he thinks he’s losing his baby girl, but also wants her to have the wedding she has always dreamt of, no matter the cost. I’ve always considered this version to be the classic, despite the original’s Best Picture nomination. The original is fine, but the second one has a charm to it that can only be brought by Steve Martin, lightening the mood and making things just a little sillier.

And I can’t forget t credit the rest of the cast, all who contribute to this new Nancy Meyers charm. Diane Keaton isn’t a busybody stay-at-home 1950’s type, she’s clearly very vivacious and opinionated, but also has excellent chemistry with martin. And Williams-Paisley in her debut role is all kinds of ingenue, pairing well with a fresh faced George Newbern. But the addition of Kieran Culkin, who actually does something with the little brother role, instead of whoever that forgettable ghost was in the first film, and BD Wong and Martin Short as indescribable wedding planners contributed enough to this shift that took what worked for 1950, and made it feel timeless 41 years later.

Today, Father of The Bride still holds up, not just as a comedy, but a kind of romance. Not just between couples, but this idyllic life that so many chase. The idea that you can live enough within your means to be able to afford a substantial wedding, one that comes with all the trappings. Even in this ever changing world, where less people get married, as more marriages fail, there is still a pipe dream that one day you’ll be able to pick out your wedding gown, or decide how many tiers your wedding cake will have.

And if the movies are ever one thing consistently, no matter what decade, they remain escapist entertainment. This is that.

The Blind Perspective: Spectrum Access and i were not getting along. Yes, there is audio description. Yes, you can go that route. When you get into it, the narration was well done. I loved the description of the window after the snow, as it brought my own personal memories into frame, of a frosted window, with snow on the sill. The imagery of Martin Short and BD Wong shoveling snow reminded me of all the times as a kid when I did the same thing. It was a very nice time down memory lane.

Final Grade: A

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