in principal gas alazraki‘s father of the bride— the third film adaptation of Edward Streeter’s 1949 novel of the same name — there’s a lot of talk about tradition and breaking past expectations. In this latest iteration, Andy Garcia plays Billy Herrera, who came from Cuba at a young age to become an architect in Miami. His buildings have a classic look to the past, and Billy haunts nostalgic waxes about his early days in Florida, marrying Ingrid (Gloria Estefan), and how far it has come since then. Along the father of the bridewe see how Billy and other characters move forward to carve out a new path, while still embracing the traditions of the past.
Similarly, father of the bride tries to carve its own path out of the previous two iterations of this story, while also trying to pay homage to what worked so well in the past. While the script matt lopez (Race to Witch Mountain, the sorcerer’s apprentice) try to do this, father of the bride learns the wrong lessons from previous iterations, creating a strangely dark version of this story that lacks the humor and heart this story requires.
This change is almost immediately clear in the first moments of father of the bride, while Billy and Ingrid get into a fight at marriage counseling. After a year of struggling to make it work, the two decide it’s time to call it quits. His plan to tell his family about the divorce is thwarted when his eldest daughter Sofia (Adrian Arjona) comes home and reveals that she is getting married and moving to Mexico. With Sofía and her fiancé Adán (Diego Bonet) getting married in just a few months, Billy and Ingrid hide their surprise from Sofia and their other daughter Cora (isabella mercedes) until after the wedding.
From there, the beats are pretty similar to what we’ve seen in the past, as the father worries about the plans this daughter is making. Whereas in previous versions, the father is generally worried about the money being spent on the nuptials, here, it’s more about Billy worried that Sofia is straying too far from the way things have been done in the past. Sofia doesn’t want a Catholic service, she doesn’t want a big wedding and she doesn’t want her own father’s plans to control her.
However, while father of the bride It fundamentally lacks the warmth or comedy that has made this such a beloved story for decades. Garcia is pretty good here, mixing charm and love for his family and his daughter, who can turn him into a big teddy bear just by looking at him. But the script does not have the humor that this story usually has, for those who hope to see García go full spencer-tracy either Steve Martin in this role. While most of the humor in other versions focused on the father’s concern about the wedding, this father of the bride he has to rely on other tactics for his humor, since Billy doesn’t exactly justify this kind of comedy.
One of the film’s broader attempts at humor comes in saturday night live‘s Chloe Finemana wedding planner trying to evoke the spirit of short martin‘s Franck, but through a millennial lens. While this performance provides some hilarious moments (Fineman’s pronunciation of “Latinx” is particularly hilarious), the schtick can get to be a bit much, playing on tired tropes already done to death.
As is the case with all versions of this story, the wedding ultimately takes place at Herrera’s house, and it is in this proven story where father of the bride Show your strengths. Alazraki’s camera pans excitedly over the Herrera home, showing its transformation into a wedding venue, and gathering family and friends in this abode shows the warmth and heart that the film has lacked thus far. It is in these final scenes where Garcia can show what he brings to this role, the movie can finally deliver some lovely moments between Garcia and Estefan, and the tenderness of this story can finally shine through. father of the bride it eventually gets to where it needs to be tonally, but unfortunately, it takes too long to get there.
father of the bride has his heart in the right place, trying to adapt this beloved story for another generation and audience, but straying too far from the traditions of the past, father of the bride it doesn’t have the same magic that its previous versions have been able to generate.
father of the bride now streaming on HBO Max.