- The HBO Max streamer can be watched once with family. Popcorn and fizzy drinks are recommended to augment the effervescence.
“Father of the Bride” streaming on HBO Max is another retelling of the same old story of a doting father taken by surprise by his daughter’s coming-of-age beau. Not only does his little girl ignore his imagined life path but she is madly in love with a young man. The father’s disproportionate anxiety makes him do crazy things when he sees that she wants to marry this stranger posthaste.
The sequence of events that ensue leads to a rollicking “comedy of errors.” I have not seen the 1950 version with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn (Best Picture nominee) by Charles Shyer but I am addicted to the 1991 version with Steve Martin and Diane Keaton. I have not read the eponymous 1949 novel “Father of the Bride” by Edward Streeter either, but I am a ditzy fan of the premise.
Director Gary Alazraki’s version of the 2022 film is about a Cuban-American family in which Andy Garcia plays an out-of-touch patriarch. Garcia’s Billy Herrera is a successful architect and his only nutty quirk is his incessant oversharing of increasingly embellished versions of his coming-to-America story, which gets many “eye-rolls” from his lovely but bemused wife Ingrid (Gloria Estefan) and family. It is quaint but is not rip-roaringly funny!
The wealthy, good-looking, cigar-smoking, complex immigrant family that bonds over watching movies like “Casablanca” works but other things don’t. I can’t rave about Matt Lopez’s subplots of the “parents of the bride” pending divorce and unrelated sibling rivalry because they do not add to the classic rom-com genre. But no one, absolutely no one can ever stack up to the amazingly talented Martin Short’s interpretation of the zany wedding planner Franck! So, the slightly quixotic contender as an “SNL” star is Chloe Fineman who brings a few smiles as a nutty wedding planner but is a way watered-down version.
Sofia Herrera (Adriana Arjona) and Adnan (Diego Boneta) are cute together. Adnan comes across as the most level-headed young guy who shares Sofia’s dreams of moving to Mexico and working to help immigrants find the better life Billy Herrera made for himself and his family long ago. (I think this idea is awesome!)
But Adan’s family is in no way like him, as one would have predicted. There are no hilarious encounters with the would-be-in laws that created a lot of tension in the 1991 version. There is no grocery store histrionics with hot dog buns. There is a runaway bride, not because of a toaster but because of the parents’ pending divorce. The wedding venue is in flux as expected because of fathers’ egos, unexpected hurricanes and collapsing bridges.
But when the toppled trees and bruised emotions are smoothed out, the wedding happens where it was always intended to happen. The movie seems like a Bollywood remake of Father of the Bride with Mexican Chicken Mole and a very colorful supermarket wedding cake. It can be watched once with family. Popcorn and fizzy drinks are recommended to augment the effervescence.
With one foot in Huntsville, Alabama, the other in her birth home India and a heart steeped in humanity, writing is a contemplative practice for Monita Soni. She has published hundreds of poems, movie reviews, book critiques, and essays and contributed to combined literary works. Her two books are My Light Reflections and Flow through My Heart. You can hear her commentaries on Sundial Writers Corner WLRH 89.3FM and the Princess Theater.