Welcome to the new post-racial America, where at long last African-Americans and Latinos can star together in a major studio movie every bit as crappy as anything white people have ever done. Our Family Wedding is a minor milestone in the march of cultural progress, and a huge regression in the art of screen comedy, a viewing experience both heartening and totally mortifying. It's also an utterly witless exercise in genre recycling. In fact, the film is notable only for the racial composition of the cast.
Forest Whitaker and Carlos Mencia star as dads sparring because their grown children are in love, getting engaged, and didn't bother to consult their blowhard daddies first.
The ever-glowing America Ferrera plays Lucy, and handsome nonentity Lance Gross plays Marcus. They make an attractive couple you can root for — until you realize the idiotic script isn't getting annulled anytime soon.
As vain L.A. DJ Brad Boyd, Whitaker looks disarmingly slim, and his lazy-eyed glower still plays a tad too menacing for light comedy. It's not that he can't handle funny roles (Good Morning Vietnam), but his chops aren't strong enough to overcome material this feeble.
Meanwhile, as an overbearing mechanic dad, Mencia does for screen acting what he did for standup — which is spit on it, befoul it and then ride over it with a mulching mower to make sure there's nothing useful left.
Like a freshman fumbling around with a bra strap on prom night, director Rick Famuyiwa bumbles his way through every setup and sight gag, imbuing each comic scene with an awkward lifelessness. It doesn't help that the script follows wedding-flick ordinances to the letter, with bickering in-laws, doddering seniors, drunken relatives and catering mishaps. All of it's out of whack, from Taye Diggs in a pink Polo shirt and sweater vest, the Warren Sapp (yawn) cameo, and the wild goat that trashes the reception area. Interestingly it's the black family playing the fussy snobs, and the Mexicans as backwards yokels, though that's hardly progress.
Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].