Our Family Wedding


To describe the primary conflict in "Our Family Wedding" as a culture clash would be an understatement. Hitching a Mexican-American bride and her African-American groom to a noisy and increasingly tiresome family feud, this broad ethnic farce serves up a full-on culture collision, but -- thanks to a handful of diverting performers -- stops just short of becoming a train wreck. Though it feels mostly old and borrowed, helmer Rick Famuyiwa's third and least subtle minority-centric feature (following "The Wood" and "Brown Sugar") offers enough comfort-food familiarity to collect B.O. bouquets, primarily from black and Latino audiences.


As scripted by Wayne Conley, Malcolm Spellman and Famuyiwa, "Our Family Wedding" initially seems to unfold in a lighter-hearted version of the Los Angeles depicted in Paul Haggis' "Crash" -- a city where narrative coincidences and racial insults run equally rampant. In an early scene, radio talkshow personality Brad Boyd (Forest Whitaker), having carelessly left his car parked downtown overnight, gets into a heated altercation with tow-truck driver Miguel Ramirez (Carlos Mencia). Naturally, it's not long before Brad and Miguel meet again and receive the unpleasant news that they're soon going to be related: Brad's son, Marcus (Lance Gross), is engaged to Miguel's daughter, Lucia (America Ferrera).


Once the shock -- if not the displeasure -- wears off, Brad and Miguel try to assert their equally strong personalities by exercising control over the wedding plans. Gritting their teeth and repeatedly telling themselves, "Our marriage, their wedding," Marcus and Lucia put up with their dads' shenanigans, as what they intended to be a quickie ceremony balloons into a lavish bicultural blowout. Meanwhile, Marcus urges Lucia to tell her father and mother (Diana Maria Riva) that she dropped out of law school and plans to move overseas with Marcus after they're married.


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