On the strength - or to be more accurate, the weakness of The Big Wedding, it's clear that Hollywood no longer deserves actors of the calibre of Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton and Susan Sarandon. Heck, it doesn't even deserve actors like Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried and Topher Grace. Billed as an uproarious ensemble comedy about a family wedding going very badly wrong, this is predictable, painful and hardly funny at all.
The titular wedding is that of Alejandro (Barnes) and his lovely bride Missy (Seyfried), to which the entire extended family is invited. This means Alejandro's adoptive brother Jared (Grace) and sister Lyla (Heigl), his divorced dad Don (De Niro) and mom Ellie (Keaton), and his dad's girlfriend of ten years Bebe (Sarandon). But it also includes Alejandro's biological mother Madonna (Patricia Rae), whose conservative Catholic beliefs threaten to turn the entire weekend upside down. To avoid upsetting Madonna, Alejandro convinces Don and Ellie to play at still being married - at least until after the wedding.
It's a thin and rather contrived premise, but better rom-coms have succeeded with worse plotlines. The problem with The Big Wedding is that its screenplay - by director Zackham - is terrible. Riddled with sexual innuendoes (a character named 'Muffin' played by Broadway veteran Christine Ebersole) and 'jokes' that aren't particularly funny (De Niro getting repeatedly punched in the face), the script lurches from scene to scene with little regard for emotional engagement or character development.
Pretty much all of the characters in the film are poorly-written caricatures, to the point that even its inexplicably accomplished cast can't salvage them. Don, for instance, comes across as a perpetually randy, offensive brute of a man, and it's hard to understand why former best friends Ellie and Bebe have both fallen for him. Actually, it's hard to like any of the characters - which is no surprise since their director doesn't seem to like them very much either.
In recent years, it's become increasingly clear that Hollywood no longer has any idea what to do with distinguished actors from the seventies who aren't Meryl Streep. These days, they all seem to be biding their time in mediocre but inoffensive comedies, waiting for another chance to prove why they're legends of the silver screen. Unfortunately for everyone involved with The Big Wedding, this manages to be so grievously mediocre that it actually becomes offensive in its own way. Even fans of the rom-com genre, whose standards have already been revised downwards for movies of this sort, won't find much in the way of romance or comedy here.
Summary: Don't bother RSVP-ing for this one.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars