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The Big Wedding
0.5 Waffles!

Katherine Heigl puked on Robert De Niro, and he still had a better time than I did at The Big Wedding.

Missy (Amanda Seyfried) and Alejandro (Ben Barnes) are getting married, but, as the big wedding day approaches, everyone in this large family has secrets!

Alejandro was adopted, and hasn’t told his birth mother, Madonna (Patricia Rae), that his adopted parents, Ellie (Diane Keaton) and Don (Robert De Niro) have gotten divorced, so they need to pretend to be happily married, and you know that won’t lead to anything good (I learned that from watching Three’s Company).

Lyla (Katherine Heigl) doesn’t want to tell her parents she is getting divorced, so she is all mopey and bitter, especially since she still hates Don for the divorce.

Alejandro’s adopted brother, Jared (Topher Grace), has eyes for Alejandro’s birth sister, Nuria (Ana Ayora), which may or may not be taboo, but he doesn’t really let that get in his thought process while she is parading around naked.

And, so much more emerges as tensions rise and mouths open!

While watching The Big Wedding, I started wondering if there was some sort of delivery mix up and this script and contract was sent to Robert De Niro accidentally instead of to someone like Tim Allen or Tom Arnold. How else to explain De Niro ending up in the same movie as Katherine Heigl?

Then, I started hoping this might be a Robert De Niro movie, and Katherine Heigl just got lucky. Maybe this would be her big comeback movie or a chance to show she can be an award winner.

But, in the first five minutes, De Niro’s character offers to perform oral sex on Susan Sarandon’s character, and you realize this is going to be a nightmare. It's a Katherine Heigl movie!

It gets worse.

If 1980 Robert De Niro could travel through time and see 2013 Robert De Niro, he would punch him square in the nuts. Maybe nothing should shock me after seeing De Niro in The Fockers movies, Rocky and Bullwinkle or New Year’s Eve, because shame was left behind decades ago, but it’s still disconcerting and disappointing to see him do something like The Big Wedding (fresh off the Oscar nominated turn in Silver Linings Playbook).

On paper, Don could be a fascinating character with a grizzled background, questionable morality, and massive flaws, but The Big Wedding is not that kind of movie as it destroys your view of De Niro, Keaton, Sarandon and even Seyfried, all of whom slummed it for this lame, transparent attempt at producing a mass appeal movie that would be better located on the Lifetime network than your local Cineplex. Even Lifetime might reject this thing, because they have better standards, so I should give them some credit.

Writer/director Justin Zackham (based on a French movie) never does much with The Big Wedding other than try to come up with as many embarrassing situations as possible for the cast. Being randy replaces actual emotion and liking the characters on screen. We even get a bunch of jokes about Don getting drunk, after we have learned he has gone through Alcoholics Anonymous, just to prove no subject is off limits as Zackham desperately tries to mine comedy gold out of every scene, but comes up with comedy crap instead.

Just by himself, De Niro’s Don is subject to getting puked on, falling in a pool, creepily diving in to orally pleasure Sarandon’s character, receiving several slaps to the face and trying, out loud, to figure out how to deal with his Viagra-induced erection when interrupted mid-coital. It’s as if De Niro lost a bet or was forced by the karmic Gods to pay for some heinous crime, while the rest of the cast doesn’t fair much better.

Almost every joke is predictable and flat, leaving us with a movie that is just not funny, let alone funny enough to be the farce and romp The Big Wedding was intended to be.

The Big Wedding is rated R for language, sexual content and brief nudity.


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