BY KENDALL ERICKSON
When I saw the trailer for this movie, I wanted to see it right away. It seemed like every big Hollywood name was in it, it looked hilarious, and it just seemed like one of those funny feel-good romantic comedies. Needless to say, I had pretty high expectations for it.
If I’m being completely honest, I was pretty disappointed with this movie. It’s not bad by any means but it’s not particularly great either. It’s just okay. I would watch it again if I was with people that wanted to, and I would probably enjoy myself, but I most definitely won’t be buying the DVD or renting it when it comes out either. It felt like they had this amazing cast, (Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, Amanda Seyfried, Katherine Heigl, Susan Sarandon, and Robin Williams) and a fairly creative and inventive plot that just wasn’t executed well.
To give you the gist of the movie, Don and Ellie (Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton) are a divorced couple that raised three kids together, one of which was adopted. The two of them have remained on good terms despite the fact that Don cheated on Ellie years ago with Ellie’s best friend Bebe (played by Susan Sarandon.) Don and Bebe are now a couple that live together in the house that Don and Ellie built when they got married. Ellie has come back to town, along with all of the other members of the family, including her and Don’s other two kids Lyla and Jared (Katherine Heigl and Topher Grace) for the wedding of her and Don’s adopted son Alejandro (who is marrying Amanda Seyfried’s character Missy). With the wedding in only a few days, Alejandro has convinced his birth mother to attend the wedding. The problem is, she is extremely religious and does not believe in divorce. So, of course, Alejandro neglects to tell her that his parents have been divorced for a number of years. As a result, Don and Ellie are forced to pretend that they are still happily married in the hopes that they can deceive Alejandro’s birth mother, much to the dismay of Bebe.
In addition to this main plot, there are subplots going on with Lyla and Jared. Lyla has a very strained relationship with Don and has never forgiven him for cheating on her mom, while Jared, who has chosen to remain abstinent until he finds love, finds himself immediately attracted to Alejandro’s biological sister (who comes for the wedding as well). On top of ALL of this, the Catholic priest marrying Missy and Alejandro is Father Moinighan, played by none other than Robin Williams.
Despite this big plot and even bigger cast, for me, this movie still didn’t work. It has this really potentially funny main plot that just falls flat. Other than a few one-liners from De Niro’s character, both Don and Ellie seem completely fine with the fact that they are lying to their son’s biological mom. Bebe, though miffed at Don for agreeing to the façade, doesn’t really show it. It felt like this movie was trying so hard to be a funny family comedy that they just forgot that every story, even comedies, needs conflict.
This movie had all of the tools to create a great and memorable film, but it just didn’t know how to use all of them properly in order to put everything together.