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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Our Family Wedding
Our Family Wedding
Fox // PG-13 // July 13, 2010
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Preston Jones | posted October 11, 2010 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie

Speaking as someone who recently went through an engagement and wedding that bridged two very different cultures, I can only say that, for all director/co-screenwriter Rick Famuyiwa overplays, there is a lot he gets right in Our Family Wedding. A well-worn set-up -- Marcus, a young black man (Lance Gross) and Lucia, a young Hispanic woman (America Ferrera) intend to get married, despite initial parental hesitation -- gives way to some insight into 21st century America, the re-making of the idea of the nuclear family and the younger generation's embrace of interracial romance.

The film enjoyed a blink-and-miss-it theatrical run earlier this year, but will likely find an audience on DVD. Perhaps part of the frustration at the box office was due to the trailer, which sells Our Family Wedding as a zany, over-the-top catalog of calamity, sweetened with dollops of romance. That undercuts what Famuyiwa and his co-screenwriters Malcolm Spellman and Wayne Conley are trying to do: paint a somewhat believable portrait of two proud men -- Forest Whitaker and, astonishingly, Carlos Mencia -- defending their traditions as well as their children.

That's not to say that Our Family Wedding doesn't get tremendous mileage out of the mis-matched set-up. Some of the funniest moments -- particularly those of Charlie Murphy, who steals the film whenever he's onscreen -- stem from the cultural divide, which feels like tired cliché, but has its roots in reality. The narrative hits the predictable notes (both dads are startled to learn of the engagement, each grapples with his own romantic situation, the planning and execution of the wedding becomes needlessly complicated, etc.) but does so smoothly, thanks mostly to the terrific cast.

Although everyone acquits themselves well in their respective roles, Mencia is nothing short of startling here. Widely known (and derided) as a stand-up comedian whose short-lived show "Mind of Mencia" on Comedy Central never hinted at any possibilities such as this one, the Mexican-American comic delivers a nuanced, affecting performance as Miguel, Lucia's overprotective father and the Ramirez patriarch. By underplaying what feels like a role that could've slipped into crude caricature, Mencia anchors this occasionally raucous story with warmth and genuine pathos.

Our Family Wedding does not shatter stereotypes or accomplish anything approaching revolutionary, mind you, however good its cast may be. Instead, it takes very familiar situations and puts a modern spin upon them. Greater than the sum of its parts yet not groundbreaking enough to warrant a hearty recommendation, it's still a film, particularly for those who are in similar situations, that will resonate and, most importantly, entertain.

The DVD

The Video:

Our Family Wedding arrives on DVD with a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. However, the transfer cannot be accurately judged owing to 20th Century Fox's supplying a screener disc rather than final product. Smearing, pixilation and motion blur are evident throughout the entire film, as well as a Fox watermark obscuring portions of the image. Should final product be provided to DVD Talk, this rating will be revised to reflect its quality.

The Audio:

As with the visuals, the Dolby Digital 5.1 track sounds pretty solid, conveying dialogue and score with no discernible problem, but an accurate assessment cannot be made, owing to the fact that Fox supplied a screener, rather than final product. An optional Spanish Dolby 2.0 stereo track is included, as are optional English, Spanish and French subtitles. Should Fox provide a retail version of Our Family Wedding for consideration, this rating will be revised to reflect the quality of the soundtrack.

The Extras:

Six deleted scenes (presented in anamorphic widescreen) are included, playable separately or all together for an aggregate of 17 minutes, 32 seconds. Two extended scenes (presented in anamorphic widescreen) are playable separately or all together for an aggregate of four minutes, 14 seconds. A two minute, 39 second gag reel (presented in anamorphic widescreen), the film's trailer and sneak peeks at The Joneses and The Cleveland Show complete the disc.

Final Thoughts:

Speaking as someone who recently went through an engagement and wedding that bridged two very different cultures, I can only say that, for all director/co-screenwriter Rick Famuyiwa overplays, there is a lot he gets right in Our Family Wedding. A well-worn set-up -- Marcus, a young black man (Lance Gross) and Lucia, a young Hispanic woman (America Ferrera) intend to get married, despite initial parental hesitation -- gives way to some insight into 21st century America, the re-making of the idea of the nuclear family and the younger generation's embrace of interracial romance. Our Family Wedding does not shatter stereotypes or accomplish anything approaching revolutionary, mind you, however good its cast may be. Instead, it takes very familiar situations and puts a modern spin upon them. Greater than the sum of its parts yet not groundbreaking enough to warrant a hearty recommendation, it's still a film, particularly for those who are in similar situations, that will resonate and, most importantly, entertain. Rent it.

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