A joyful, vibrant, and culturally accurate reimagining of father of the bride— both the elegant 1950 original and the hilarious 1991 remake — Gaz Alazraki’s new version begins with a melancholic undercurrent. As the father of the moment, wealthy and in-demand Florida architect Billy Herrera (Andy Garcia) guides viewers through a sweet journey of sepia-toned photographs and grainy home video, reminiscing in voice-over to his proud past as a hard-working Cuban immigrant who built a prosperous… Life built from nothing.
Billy’s memories mainly revolve around his love marriage to his dear wife Ingrid (Gloria Estefan), a loving and equally hard-working wife. And while you’re aware of the slight lamentation in his voice during that happy ending sequence, the sudden shift to the present – with the prickly and miserable duo now facing a couples therapist – still comes as a shock. It’s an unexpected tonal shift that quickly prompts viewers to surrender to a fresh remake with novel ideas that promises to carve its own path into a winning romantic comedy that celebrates marital bliss and resilient family bonds against all odds.
In fact, from the start, Alazraki and screenwriter Matt Lopez give us a bold and sophisticated template that redefines the time-tested idea at the heart of father of the bride through a diverse Latinx lens with panache and intelligence. Here, the traditional father figure, tormented by his daughter’s imminent (and very expensive) wedding, must not only come to terms with his offspring’s confident femininity and autonomy, but also unlearn his old ways as a conventional husband and find out what it is needs to be a good life partner in a modern era where patriarchy is not an ultimate ideal. But against a ticking clock, can Bill pull through all of this and meet Ingrid in the mutually open-minded and adventurous life she wants to lead in the future?
The level-headed Ingrid doesn’t believe in insisting on a divorce for perfectly valid reasons – imagine a wealthy husband of retirement age who doesn’t even want to go to Greece with you. But the duo decides to keep their imminent split a secret anyway, once their dear Sofia (Adria Arjona) returns from NYU Law with a promising offer from Mexico and announces her engagement to Adan Castillo (Diego Boneta), an heir to one Beer dynasty and a loveable granola townsman who was raised by his ultra-rich, larger-than-life Mexican parents, Hernan and Marcela (Pedro Damián and Laura Harring, respectively).
Also in the messy picture is Sofia’s diametrically opposed sister, Cora (Isabela Merced), an aspiring designer who, instead of going to college, yearns to launch her own progressive clothing line. And what high-profile wedding would be complete without a busy wedding planner? Here are the tributes to Natalie Vance by Chloe Fineman, a social media famed influencer dude who hovers somewhere between a well-meaning but clueless misfit and an ailing white lady who could be a con artist; It’s a tricky tightrope walk that Fineman masters with a healthy dose of laughter.
It’s certainly a crowded canvas. But Alazraki and Lopez joyfully melt all the ingredients into a hearty hotpot of generational conflict, cultural clashes, patriarchal takeover and domestic chaos, allowing the uniqueness of both Cuban and Mexican cultures to shine through in their Latinx tapestry, rendered by the production designer on the sumptuous sets by Kim Jennings. Essentially closer to Spencer Tracy’s acidly nonchalant father than Steve Martin’s frenzied personality, Garcia appropriates the title role through his organic screen charisma, coupled with Estefan’s wonderful turn as a headstrong woman unafraid to follow her heart’s desires follow.
The image is also enriched by the sisterly bond between Cora and Sofia, two inspiring young women who grow closer while appreciating and embracing each other’s differences. The end result of all this is a little My Big Fat Greek Wedding and a bit Crazy rich Asians in spirit; an opulent total package enhanced by the intricate work of costume designer Caroline Eselin Schaefer – Sofia’s crop suits are particularly stunning – composer Terence Blanchard’s rich score of jazzy rhythms and cinematographer Igor Jadue-Lillo’s dedicated lens that enhances the film’s stormy finale through dizzying , labyrinthine individual pieces. do camerawork.
But the real heartwarmer of the saga is Billy and Adan’s eventual bond, with the former learning from the latter what kind of behavior a contemporary husband should aspire to. It’s a development that flips the script of previous films, convincingly asserting that youth can be right about a thing or two, as well as the notion that children who sacrifice immigrants are allowed (or should be) to follow their own dreams. . This lovely detail makes up for some of the film’s shortcomings elsewhere, such as the script’s frustrating tiptoeing around Cora’s sexual orientation and attraction to a bridesmaid. The suggestion is there, but it almost feels like some powers in studio meeting rooms are secretly hoping you won’t notice. Certainly not every gay story has to be a heteronormative coming-out story. But in the traditional world Cora lives in, the secretive shyness on display feels like a misstep.
Make no mistake though :This father of the bride is still a best-case scenario for a remake, a lovingly specific and radiantly universal take on a classic walking down a familiar aisle with something new.