Movie review: 'Big Wedding' is a humor-free affair

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Laughs and sensible characters are in short supply in "The Big Wedding," a painfully forced sex farce adapted from a 2006 French movie.

Divorced couple Don (Robert De Niro) and Ellie (Diane Keaton) are reunited for the wedding of their adopted son, Alejandro (Ben Barnes), to Missy (Amanda Seyfried). But when Alejandro learns that his biological mother, Madonna (Patricia Rae), is flying up from Colombia for the wedding, he fears that she, a strict Catholic, will frown on Don and Ellie's divorce. So he persuades them to pretend to be married for the weekend, a move that particularly offends Bebe (Susan Sarandon), Don's current lover and Ellie's onetime best friend.

Throw in Missy's racist mom (Christine Ebersole) and financially shady father (David Rasche) and Don and Ellie's other adult children — Lyla (Katherine Heigl), who's pregnant and having marital problems, and Jared (Topher Grace), an obstetrician and 29-year-old virgin — and Madonna's other child, the nubile Nuria (Ana Ayora). Oh, and Robin Williams as the priest.

Wackiness ensues, right? Alas, wrong. Writer-director Justin Zackham's jokes are crass and offensive to pretty much every group you can think of, and his inexperience means the veteran actors, particularly the scenery-chewing De Niro and the shrill Heigl, run roughshod over the proceedings.; —


'The Big Wedding'

Opens Friday, April 26, at theaters everywhere; rated R for language, sexual content and brief nudity; 89 minutes.