Wow where to begin? There is definitely no shortage of story lines in this film that contains a phenomenal cast of characters all with their own brick walls in life to either climb over or knock down. First off I want this house located on a beautiful pond in the country where Don (Robert De Niro) and Bebe (Susan Sarandon) live with her two pugs. Don was once married to Ellie (Diane Keaton) and they both raised three beautiful children in the house and have their family tree carved in a tree on the property.
Lyla (Katherine Heigl) the oldest who happens to have issues being around infants and for just reason she was pronounced at one time to be infertile and after a huge fight with Andrew (Kyle Bornheimer) her fiancé the relationship has separated but not without Lyla having a personal secret she is keeping from everyone including Andrew. Jared (Topher Grace) who I happen to be a fan of is a doctor at the age of twenty nine and guess what girls he’s still a virgin, hard to believe but true. He’s holding on to his virginity until he meets that special someone. I little hard to believe in this day and age but hey the Jonas brothers tried it. Tried being the operative word! Last but absolutely not least, Alejandro (Ben Barnes), olive skin, good looking and yes he’s adopted. His mother in Columbia could not raise him at the time so Don and Ellie adopted him as a young boy to give him a better life and now a Harvard graduate he is about to marry the beautiful Missy (Amanda Seyfried).
The reason for the gathering of the family all in one place once again happens to be because of Alejandro’s wedding. The bride and groom decided to have the wedding at the house with a honeymoon in Vietnam and Cambodia. Ellie is the first one to show at the house and by letting herself in she stumbles upon Don and Bebe in the kitchen and they weren’t cooking food but Don was truly about to eat! Bebe was Ellie’s best friend until she slept with Don causing the divorce and then of course Bebe moved in and became a second mother to the children. Sounds like a bitter feud about to erupt but not quite so much. Yet! When the kids arrive the family is all back together to celebrate a Catholic wedding or at least Missy hopes so for the sake of her parents Muffin (Christine Ebersole) and Barry (David Rasche). Did I mention Muffin has a craving for muffins and that both parents are not fans of olive skin? This makes for some complications not to mention the fact that Father Moinighan (Robin Williams) of the Catholic Church will not marry Missy and Alejandro unless they promise to raise their children Catholic. Oh religion and politics they really do mix well together don’t they!
Well all is not done with this family debacle because Alejandro’s biological mother Madonna (Patricia Rae) is on her way to the house from Columbia along with Alejandro’s sister Nuria (Ana Ayora) and because she is holier than thou Alejandro never told her that his America parents Don and Ellie are divorced so for the long weekend Bebe moves out but still has presence catering her “Yum Yums” and the entire family have to act like one big happy religious family, Oh yes and Madonna, aptly named, does not speak English, thank God for sub-titles which work very well in this brilliantly written story. As for Nuria yes she is bi-lingual and free spirited right down to her birthday suit in the lake. Jared is very soon going to lose something he’s saved up all his life for if he doesn’t control his Willy. Sometimes where there’s a will there’s a way and sometimes there’s not and in the end it all comes down to how hard you want it! At the climax of the story not Jerad all comes together but not without secrets being revealed many of them too crazy to mention but there are no bean farmers at the wedding, Father Moinighan has his first twofer and baby Jane joins the family along with a number of others.
I absolutely loved this film, which happens to deal a lot with the search and understanding of love, probably one of the best movies I’ve seen this year so far. It had its cliché moments along with original predicaments but overall this story was brilliantly scripted making me laugh, think about life, miss my own large unconventional family and all together want more of it but at ninety minutes it definitely moves well keeping me entertained the entire time. Beautiful photography along with a fun soundtrack this film is truly a must see for both guys and girls although it leans more towards the female demographic other than the nude lake scene which of course made Muffin happy. Anyway, overall this film should do extremely well at the box office not only due to its superb direction and writing but as well due to a fantastic cast.
De Niro is perfect as the punching bag father stuck between a number of women as he tries to stay sober while juggling a family crisis one right after another. Keaton is the mother everyone likes as well as Sarandon both women play well together making this story come together in a very realistic setting about modern life in a divorced situation. Heigl, Grace and Barnes all play well making me feel right at home. I’m not a huge fan of Seyfried and her previous work but she is starting to win me over here, maybe because her lines were short and sweet! Williams lines are also short but when he enters the frame he is as perfect as always but I only wish they extended the script another 10 minutes just to use more of his talents. Ebersole and Rasche are great supporting characters as Missy’s parents and Ayora and Rae are the boost that the story needed to bring the plot together. A perfect cast to a perfect film that in my opinion is definitely worth the effort to see on the big screen. Written and thoroughly enjoyed with three paws out of four by Jon Patch.