Monday, May 23, 2016

Father of the Bride Series Wrap Up

In my book the ’91 Fatherof the Bride is kind of a masterpiece.  It’s a beautiful story about parents and their kids growing through this very common yet deeply personal and cherished event.  It’s a perfect setup and the execution is superb.

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The original 1950 version just blows.  I still can’t get over how goddamn gloomy it is.  What’s even more surprising is that director Charles Shyer said that he and everyone involved in the ’91 version didn’t refer to the original or the book very much because they wanted to make their own film.  This is an insane statement considering how much material the two movies share.  I mean they should’ve been the same fuckin’ movie.  But through only a few tweaks, like having the daughter be more of a strong independent woman and the father eventually relenting in his dickishness, you get an entirely different outcome.

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The elimination of a genuinely frightening nightmare sequence from the original was also probably a good idea.

As for the sequels, neither needed to be made.  Fatherof the Bride Part II is the better between the two though.  Story-wise it’s actually worse than the streamlined Dividend but there were one or two times when I laughed and it doesn’t treat its characters nastily like Kay and the baby are sometimes.

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Look I’m not someone who’s really into the idea of marriage or certainly the whole wedding thing but that kinda shit can pull at my heartstrings if it’s done well.  The idea of falling in love and devoting yourself to someone is the truly touching part and really the foundation for these films.  It’s the whole rigmarole that so many people go through to tell the world they’re an item that makes it a bit silly and entertaining.  And that’s why I love the ’91 version at least.  It shows excellently that the process may be a pain in the ass but the experience will most likely create some damn funny and heartwarming memories.  And that a wedding will cost you an arm and a leg but it’ll be worth it, hopefully.

Alright fathers who have daughters that will be brides, you got me. 

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Father of the Bride Part II

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This is just as unnecessary as you think it is (or remember it being).  Four years after “I do” Annie and Bryan are going to have a kid and George freaks out straight away.  After a quick talk with Nina though he clams down and is fine with it.  It’s the idea of becoming a grandfather and the implication of being an old man that really gets to him.  To remedy this George goes to the gym to get fit, dyes his hair and fucks his wife on the kitchen floor.  As a result Nina gets pregnant so now she and Annie will have babies at the same time.

If you were to divide Father’sLittle Dividend into quarters the first and third are pretty much exactly the same as Father of the Bride Part II while the second and fourth quarters are very different.  Here are the main alterations: In Father’s Little Dividend Stanley doesn’t obsess over getting older (he hits the gym for a second and that’s it), Ellie doesn’t get pregnant, Kay and Buckley are the ones to remodel their home to add a nursey and not Stanley, the in-laws play a much bigger role where they become domineering in their willingness to help the newlyweds out and the wedding coordinator does not return for hijinks.  In Father of the Bride Part II George sells his house while Stanley does not, Annie and Bryan have a fight over a relocation to Boston due to work and not because of suspected infidelity, wedding coordinator Franck shows up to help design the nursery and drive the pregnant gals to the hospital, and George doesn’t lose the baby at the end like Stanley.

All of the same actors reprise their roles and it was written/produced/directed by the same Shyer/Meyers team but ultimately this is a pathetic attempt to recreate the same magic of the first.  It doesn’t convey any of the thoughtfulness or careful filmmaking that made the previous installment clever and charming.  Like the whole debacle with George selling his beloved house and buying it back again the next day is completely pointless and has no impact on the story in the end.  Having George go through a midlife crisis and hearing him constantly complain about getting older is tedious as hell.  And Franck is horribly shoehorned in and really shouldn’t be in the picture at all.

Image result for father of the bride part 2But out of everything the oddest plotline has gotta be Nina getting pregnant.  And it’s not the notion of a fifty year old woman having a baby.  It’s about muddying the emotional journey that our main character George is on and packing too much into one picture.  Nina’s pregnancy overwhelms the focus of the film and by doing that the filmmakers tried to make two movies at once.  There’s one story about George coping with becoming a grandfather for the first time and another about coming to terms with being a dad again in his fifties.  Doing both is a mess.  It throws a major kink in the arc that we started out on with George first learning to share his daughter with another man and now accepting that Annie will be responsible for a child of her own (which will start the circle of life all over again).  George gets too wrapped up in his own baby shit to pay much attention to what’s going on with Annie.  Since the film is still called Father of the Bride they should’ve stuck with viewing a daughter’s pregnancy through the father’s eyes and nixed the part about the wife also getting pregnant.  Ironically even though I didn’t like Father’sLittle Dividend they should’ve followed that template more.

George and Nina never discuss not having the baby by the way.  Once they hear the news they act like they don’t have a choice.  But I can understand why the filmmakers didn’t want to go down the path of abortion or giving the baby up for adoption in their PG family comedy.

And I just wanna say that they gave Diane Keaton the shittiest fuckin’ haircut.  I don’t know what the fuck they were thinking with that really short bob kinda ‘do.  Was it to make her look at least ten years older than she really is?  Like a granny?

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Part I
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Part II
Surprisingly the film does manage to have some heart despite a somewhat misguided and very contrived script.  The part where George passes out a smorgasbord of eclectic food items to the pregnant women and it’s the lox with bagels and cream cheese that’s actually for his thirteen year old son, Matty, was kinda funny.  And in my opinion Franck still pronounces most words in a pretty hilarious way.

I dunno, this is not a very good movie.