Directed by: Greg Alazraki
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Written by Patrick Hao
Every generation needs their “Father of the Bride.” There were 40 years between the original Spencer Tracy version and the Steve Martin version. Now 30 years after the 1990s Charles Shyer film is a brand new remake. Instead of the traditional wealthy white family, the 2022 “Father of the Bride” follows a wealthy Cuban American family.
The patriarch and matriarch of this version are Billy and Ingrid Herrera, played by Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan respectively. They are first-generation Cubans in Miami, who despite their wealth still hold onto the traditional immigrant spirit. So much so that one of the running gags in the film is of Billy recounting the fact that he came across the ocean to Miami on a boat with nothing, despite the fact that he flew. The couple is on the rocks, due to their growing emotional distance from each other. Just when they were planning on announcing their divorce, the oldest Herrera daughter, Sofia (Adria Arjona), a big-law lawyer in New York announces that she got engaged and the wedding will be in one month. Not only that, but her husband (Diego Boneta) is Mexican and they are moving to Mexico so that they can work for a non-profit.
With that, it sets the motions of a “Father of the Bride” film. The Herreras have to figure out how to pull off the wedding in such a short period of time while dealing with in-laws, culture clash between Mexicans and Cubans, generational culture clashes, and internal strife. There is even a kooky wedding planner played by Chloe Fineman, who instead of the reductive gay stereotype Martin Short was playing in the 90s “Father of the Bride,” is playing a Caroline Carraway type.
The film admittedly does not work as well as the first 1950s or the 1990s versions, which are both endlessly watchable. Garcia is a fine actor and has made a new career for himself as the suave older love interest of Diane Keaton or Cher types. He is, however, miscast in this role which requires a type of straight slapstick quality that Martin and Tracy excelled at. The film even goes away from a lot of the more slapstick elements while still retaining some of the more sophomoric humor.
The film also looks horrible. Directed by Gary Alazraki, “Father of the Bride” is emblematic of the lack of care and money that is put into these lighter comedies, especially those destined to be straight to streaming. The film is set in Miami but with overblown sitcom lighting and flat composition, it is increasingly obvious that they are on a set. The Herreras never feel like a real family, something that the first two films, despite heightened antics, were able to do.
The “Father of the Bride” story is a universal and timeless one ripe for modern adaptation. That is why the 1950s and 1990s entries can feel so timeless despite being rooted in their time. These films are inherently about the insecurity of men about their daughters and the burden of the institution of marriage and a party that is as much a reflection of the family as it is about the couple. The modern remake captures a lot of those dynamics but falters at providing any keen insight about what “Father of the Bride” means in 2022. In its attempt to modernize the story, this “Father of the Bride” feels insecure in all of its updates, as if you can feel the writers scrolling through Tik-Tok in hopes of understanding the generation they are hoping to appeal to.
“Father of the Bride” Trailer
“Father of the Bride” is streaming on HBO Max.
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