Director: Charles Shyer
Cast: Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Martin Short, Kimberly Williams
Screenplay: Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Nancy Meyers, Charles Shyer
105 mins. Rated PG.
It’s Father’s Day, and while I am not a father (to my knowledge), I figured now would be a great time to watch a good Father’s Day movie.
George Banks (Steve Martin, Roxanne, Billy Lynn’s Halftime Walk) is dealing with the worst situation of his entire life: his 22-year-old daughter Annie (Kimberly Williams, The Christmas Chronicles, TV’s According to Jim) is getting married to a man he’s never met. As the impending date of the nuptials nears, George’s sanity gets closer and closer to shattering.
The central relationships in the Banks family are the strongest element of the film, specifically between George and Annie. I could genuinely believe that they were father and daughter. George doesn’t hate the idea of her marrying, but he’s terrified of losing his daughter. He wants to be a father for just a little longer. I really enjoyed both of them, and I enjoyed Diane Keaton (Annie Hall, Poms) as George’s wife, Nina, who is so easily won over by Annie’s fiance.
George gets into some pretty frustratingly fun interactions early on in the film, like meeting the in-laws in their lavish home. I would have liked more of these situations because as the film moves along, they lose these moments. In that way, it also lost me a little.
For all the love I have for the central family dynamic, I was unimpressed with Martin Short (The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, The Addams Family) as Franck Eggelhoffer, the comedic wedding planner who is so unintelligible that he grew old rather quickly. I started out really enjoying his character, and it didn’t work after a while. The filmmakers just leaned so heavily into Eggelhoffer as a supporting character.
Father of the Bride has some really entertaining characters and comedic set pieces. The problem is that it just doesn’t have enough of them to keep the film in that upper tier of Steve Martin comedies. The movie has plenty of heart, though, and that keeps the emotional core strong enough to entertain enough. I still recommend the film but I wish it were stronger.
-Kyle A. Goethe