A groom’s perspective: Father of the Bride review

I have a confession to make: I secretly enjoy the wedding films and romcoms that I am “forced” to watch by my beloved. Now don’t get me wrong, my list of all-time favourite films is heavily weighted towards airplanes, space, guns and submarines; sometimes, though, I trade the action for the softer side of cinematography.

Watching these films when you’re not really in their target demographic makes for some interesting viewing. I seem to come to far different conclusions about the characters and plot than S does, for reasons that I can’t entirely fathom.

Take, for example, the 1991 Steve Martin vehicle Father of the Bride. George, our hero, is understandably unhappy when his daughter, fresh off the flight from Europe, announces she’s met the love of her life and is getting married. Any man watching at this point will have the same thoughts as George: who is this man? What does he do? Is he a criminal? A charlatan? A fraudster? Poor George is ridiculed for looking out for future son-in-law Bryan on America’s Most Wanted. Paranoia? I call it responsibility.

George floats the idea of catering the wedding himself, by manning his trusty barbecue. We are told his grill skills are legendary. Surely, then, this is the perfect solution to a potentially expensive catering bill. Once again, though, an eminently sensible idea is pooh-poohed by mother-of-the-bride Nina (more on her bright ideas later). By this point I begin to realise this film is not aimed at me; my version WOULD have George catering for the masses behind his trusty FlameMaster 2000! A man’s grill is his castle, after all.

Mother-of-the-bride Nina suggests they hire a wedding planner. Now, that’s not a bad idea, but you don’t go and hire some nut-job like Franck. Poor George is once again sidelined, and when he points out that $1200 is a lot of money for a wedding cake which, as pretty as it might be, is still essentially flour and water, the family are right back in with the criticism. What’s wrong with making the cakes yourself? That’s the pioneer spirit that California was founded on.

The movie continues as it begins: George, all the time a sensible, thrifty and thoughtful person, is mercilessly made out to be a fool. He doesn’t want to pay for the in-laws’ family to fly in from Denmark? What a cheapskate? Suggesting furniture should stay in the sitting room rather than be removed? “I do this for a laiving!” says not-to-sure-where-he’s-from Franck.

Finally the wedding is upon George and the family. Between dealing with illegally parked cars and all the other usual wedding-day events, George misses out on dancing with his daughter and she leaves for the airport before he can see her. I suppress my annual tear; it’s a sad moment. However, with viewers’ heartstrings ready to be pulled at, she calls our hero George and all is well with the world.

I still think it would have been better with Catering by George, but nevertheless Father of the Bride remains a firm favourite in the Vintage Veil household.]

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