AWFJ Women On Film – “Our Family Wedding” – Susan Granger reviews

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This is an interracial culture clash comedy about a Mexican-American bride, who plans to drop out of law school, and her African-American groom, who just graduated from medical school, returning from New York to Los Angeles to announce their intentions to their respective families and embark on wedding plans.

Actually, Lucia Ramirez (America Ferrera from “Ugly Betty”) and Marcus Boyd (Lance Gross from “House of Payne”) don’t have a problem. It’s their fathers who do.

As the story begins, flamboyant radio talk-show host Brad Boyd (Forest Whitaker) gets into a row with a police-dispatched tow-truck driver, Miguel Ramirez (Carlos Mencia), who’s hauling away the car that Boyd carelessly left overnight in a no-parking zone. So when Lucia and Marcus come home and reveal their plans to marry and their fractious fathers realize they’re destined to be in-laws, tempers erupt and ethnic insults fly throughout the stressful wedding-planning process. “Our marriage, their wedding” is their mantra as Lucia’s tradition-minded mother, Sonia (Diana Maria Riva), is determined to give the wedding of “her” dreams, while feisty Angela (Regina King), the groom’s divorced father’s love interest/lawyer is the voice of nuptial reason.

Written by Wayne Conley, Malcolm Spellman and director Rick Famuyiwa (“The Wood,” “Brown Sugar”) from a story by Conley, it’s heavy on contrived coincidence and cliché-laden bickering that goes over-the-top when Lucia’s conservative, Spanish-speaking grandmother, Momma Cecilia (Lupe Ontiveros), orders a live goat for an authentic Mexican wedding, only to have the terrified creature gobble up the Viagra supply. (Don’t ask.) Anjelah Johnson is Lucia’s caustic younger sister, while Taye Diggs and Charlie Murphy are Brad’s buddies.

Problem is: this prejudicial friction territory has been explored too many times before, harking back to Stanley Kramer’s Oscar-winning “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” with Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy and Sidney Poitier. Only this time, the target audience is Latinos and African-Americans. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Our Family Wedding” is a sweetly amiable yet hackneyed 5, proving once again that when you marry someone, you marry their entire family.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.