Father of the Bride: A Surprisingly Innovative and Clever Update to a Romantic Comedy Classic
Andy Garcia and Adria Arjona star in Father of the Bride.
Father of the Bride (PG, 113mins) Directed by Gary Alazraki ****
Following in the footsteps of Spencer Tracy and Steve Martin, Andy Garcia is the eponymous patriarch in this surprisingly entertaining, innovative and clever modern update of Edward Streeter’s 1949 novel.
A man who helped bring Cuba to Coconut Grove, Billy Herrera is proud of how he built himself from a poor immigrant to a highly successful Miami architect and ensured his two daughters never missed out. .
“But if I did everything right, how did I get here?” he opines, as he is trapped in yet another “couples therapy” session with his increasingly irate wife Ingird (a glorious Gloria Estefan).
Father of the Bride is now available to stream on Neon.
* It’s Gonna Hurt: TVNZ Finally Launches BBC’s Bright and Dark Drama
* Seven great films coming out of Neon before the end of June
* We’ve ranked all of Jennifer Lopez’s rom-coms and you’re going to have some thoughts
* Words on the Bathroom Walls: A premium teen romance drama tackles schizophrenia
* The bad rom-coms and made-for-TV movies that landed Bradley Cooper at the Oscars
“He’s a stubborn old man, stuck in a rut and taking me for granted,” she grumbles, adding that he apparently would rather watch The Fishing Channel than plan to travel the world with her.
After 12 months and seemingly little progress in their counseling, Ingrid finally had enough.
“You’re not going to change – and I’m tired of trying,” she blurts out, determined to tell their family the truth at this weekend’s reunion celebrating the homecoming of their eldest based in New York, Sofia (Adria Arjona).
However, their offspring have more pressing news. Not only has she met someone, but they’re considering trading their high-paying legal jobs for a job at a nonprofit in Mexico. But before they move, there’s the small matter of a wedding (after his marriage proposal) – a “little intimate affair” they think they can arrange in just four weeks.
Steve Martin headlined the latest version of Father of the Bride – first released in theaters in 1991.
Already reeling from Ingrid’s announcement and young girl Cora’s (Isabela Merced) preference to avoid higher education in favor of starting her own clothing business, Billy is determined to at least try. to retain some control over the impending nuptials.
However, despite insisting on doing the checks, it doesn’t take long for relations between him and Sofia to become strained, as he attempts to dictate the venue and guest list and talk her out of her proposed new life.
“You’re just the father of the bride,” she reminds him, “I’m going to walk down the aisle and marry this man — whether you’re next to me — or not.”
Like Disney’s sassy, Latinx-infused reimagining of French farce The Valet last month, it’s as much a celebration of Cuban and Mexican culture and traditions as it is a traditional Hollywood romantic comedy.
It might hit all the same narrative beats as the 1950 and 1991 versions, but director Gary Alazraki’s story (Mexican soccer drama series Club de Cuervos) dances a lot to its own beats (of night – and day) .
Although Arjona (Irma Vep) and Merced (Dora and the Lost City of Gold) deliver sparkling performances, it’s the rocky relationship between Garcia and Estefan that really compels. The latter reminds us what an underrated actor the former Music of the Heart star is, while Garcia produces his most nuanced and multifaceted performance in years, as he realizes he has simply ceased to be his wife’s “accomplice and friend”. ”.
It’s a sensitive, vulnerable and revelatory turn in what is a joyful, but also surprisingly thought-provoking tale, which, as a wedding dramedy, is probably closer to the modern French classic C’est La Vie, than to its Hollywood namesakes.
Father of the Bride is now projected on Neon.