Weddings are expensive, just ask the Banks
Like many when I first watched "Father of the Bride" I had no idea it was a remake of a 1950s movie, but it meant I could watch this fun family comedy without comparing it to the original. The story focuses on George Banks, a middle class American, as he has to come to terms with his daughter growing up and flying the nest. On top of this he also has to put up with a very exuberant wedding planner, Franck Eggelhoffer, who is spending his money as fast as he can make it. Although it's not the most original of stories and not a very solid plot, "Father of the Bride" is fun with Steve Martin excelling himself as the father, forced to accept the reality of his daughter growing up.
George Banks (Steve Martin - Parenthood) can't wait for his little girl, Annie (Kimberly Williams - Indian Summer), to return home from her trip to Europe. But while she has been away, Annie has done a lot of growing up, and on her return she shocks her parents with the news that she has become engaged. Reeling from this unexpected news, George has to accept that his little girl is now a woman, and on top of that he is going to have to accept that his prospective new son-in-law is going to be the new man in her life. Not surprisingly, George struggles to deal with all of this, and as the big day approaches, he realizes that he is going to have to get over these issues or else he may lose his daughter forever.
At times "Father of the Bride" is overly sentimental, with the main characters being unrealistically nice, but this is what I have come to expect from an American family-comedy. Talking of comedy, "Father of the Bride" has bucket loads of it, with the pairing of Steve Martin and Martin Short providing laughs at every opportunity. Although this is a comedy, it has a very real story behind it, and I'm sure many parents would watch this and be making comparisons to their own feelings about their children growing up.
In the lead role of George Banks is Steve Martin who although is not at his funniest, still brings his exuberant and energetic comedy to his performance. At times he comes over too sentimental but whether this is down to the direction or his acting it is impossible to say. Accompanying Steve Martin in the comedy stakes is Martin Short as Franck Eggelhoffer, a very enthusiastic French wedding planner. Between Steve Martin and Martin Short, they provide the majority of the comedy and it's hard to say which one provides the better performance.
In supporting roles you have Diane Keaton as George's wife Nina, Kimberly Williams as his daughter Annie, Kieran Culkin as his son Matty and George Newbern as his son-in-law to be, Bryan. Too be honest all the supporting cast provide the required performances, Diane Keaton provides a balance for Steve Martin's comedy, Kimberly Williams comes over as fresh faced and loveable, and Kieran Culkin does what all Culkin's do best, play cute but annoying little boys.
"Father of the Bride" is directed by Charles Shyer, who has more recently directed the 2004 remake of Alfie. Shyer has created an overall enjoyable, fun movie. Through his direction you really feel for George as he is forced into accepting reality. If I did have anything to complain about, then it would be the over sentimentality, but as I said earlier, this is what you should expect from American family-comedies, especially those from the late 80s and early 90s. The Father of the Bride soundtrack is, in my eyes, very enjoyable with the majority of the songs harking back to the 60s, with highlights coming from "The Boy I'm Gonna Marry", "Beyond the Sea", "Volare" and "My Girl".
What this all boils down to is that "Father of the Bride" is one of those movies you just can't stop yourself from enjoying. Although the storyline is predictable and overly sentimental, it's still fun and has you laughing through out its duration. Part of its charm comes from its innocence and that is why it is such a good family film. No matter what your age, there is something for everyone in "Father of the Bride", whether you associate yourself with a character, or just love the comedy from Steve Martin and Martin Short.