86° Good Afternoon
86° Good Afternoon

Engaging, cliched 'Our Family Wedding'

As a genre, wedding films are typically about as cloying as two hours' worth of kitten videos on YouTube. Add in the equally checkered history of stridently ethnic movies, and you might want to start asking moviegoers to remove their belts before entering the theater.

But Rick Famuyiwa's "Our Family Wedding" - which combines both elements - is a mostly charming movie, despite its cliched milieu.

The performances help. America Ferrera (as Lucia) and Lance Gross (as Marcus) play a young couple in college in New York who return home to their families in Los Angeles to break the news that they're engaged.

Neither family - one Latino, the other black - much likes the decision. Marcus' father, Brad Boyd (Forest Whitaker), and Lucia's dad, Miguel Ramirez (Carlos Mencia), quickly become rivals.

To be sure, there are plenty of predictable jokes reliant on stereotypes. But "Our Family Wedding" often smacks of real people.

As the families feud, they use racial stereotypes less as a crutch for identity than a means for sarcasm, self-deprecation and - if at all possible - ammo against their potential new in-laws.

Insisting that the wedding also include African-American traditions, Whitaker temporarily draws a blank before remembering the custom of the bride and groom jumping over a broomstick.

Although Whitaker and Mencia are somewhat outlandish, neither sinks to cartoon level. Unfortunately, "Our Family Wedding" loses its balance around the time the goat gets loose and eats a bunch of Viagra. Still, though cheesiness is all around, it never quite penetrates the movie.


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