'Wedding' laughs run dry
By Roger Moore
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Forest Whitaker has the Bernie Mac role and Carlos Mencia fills in for George Lopez in "Our Family Wedding," a broad and formulaic culture-clash comedy built on fill-in-the-blank wedding comedy cliches.
The novelty here? The cultures clashing are Mexican-American and African-American. The filmmakers leave few stereotypes unuttered in this cute yet coarse, sweet and slow farce about America Ferrera tying the knot with Lance Gross.
Their characters are co-habiting New Yorkers who trek back to L.A. to surprise each other's families with the news that, yes, they've been dating outside their race and culture and, yes, they're getting married.
Since their equally successful dads (Whitaker and Mencia) are as quick to play the race card as they are to blurt out "YOU people," this could get interesting. And messy.
Only it doesn't. This meek little laugher doesn't have the wit to take things into uncomfortable territory and doesn't have the cast to make the thin set-ups — an inter-family softball game, inter-family cake fights, "tradition" bashing and bonding — sing.
Singing is actually one thing that does work, as the leads and even supporting players (the hilarious Charlie Murphy) croon the Babyface hit, "As Soon as I Get Home" to comic "whipped" effect.
Whitaker is game for playing a womanizing DJ who won't let his lawyer (Regina King, superb) or his son get too close, and is unafraid of mixing it up with Mencia (almost out of his league) in their dust-ups. The leading man is bland, the older generation of Mexican- and African-Americans are played as Tyler Perry buffoons and Rick "The Wood" Famuyiwa's film sags in the middle as the writers run out of jokes.
"Our Family Wedding" is like a wedding for an iffy marriage: It begins with a little promise and attains a hint of edge before the air goes out and we're all fleeing before they shove cake in each other's faces. Violently. And a goat and spilled Viagra tablets won't be enough to save it.