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It's impossible to hate these Steve Martin/Diane Keaton comedies, but is this high-def edition of the Father of the Bride flicks worth the double-dip....?
Buena Vista / 211 Minutes / 1991/1995 / Rated PG / Street Date: May 15, 2012
A surprisingly resilient duet of 90s rom-coms, certain folks seem to love the Father of the Bride movies almost in spite of themselves. There's nothing inherently accomplished or brave about either of these Steve Martin nuptial romps, but the movies remain an oddly halcyon gold standard of good old-fashioned late-20th century comedy filmmaking. They're saccharine, wholly unbelievable, and narratively one-note, but somehow they work like gangbusters.
The MVP awards with the Father of the Bride movies go equally to Steve Martin and Diane Keaton. Doing whatever they can with wobbly-written cookie-cutter characters, they enliven the film with a classy, reliable charisma that both serves the movie's soap-opera narrative and hearkens back to both performers' exceptional body of early work.
A plot synopsis seems patently unnecessary: Martin and Keaton play proud parents who marry off their daughter in the first Father of the Bride flick, then deal with the challenges of newly-minted grandparenthood via said bride in the second one. There are wacky wedding planners (Martin Short), cutely inessential insecurities with the newlyweds (Kimberly Williams and George Newbern), and copious opportunities for broad-humor pratfalls. There's nothing patently at risk at any time in the Father of the Bride movies, but that's perhaps the source of their broad appeal: they're easy, uncomplicated, and cute as a button.
But this Blu-ray upgrade of the films is a little tricky. It's a great idea to have them both in one set - as much as the second one is a shell of the original, it still scratches that same itch - but the simple fact remains that neither film looks or sounds all that great here, rendering the need for a high-def bump pretty inconsequential. Home theater geeks with a secret smile for these rom-coms might get a hint of an increase in quality by picking up this edition, but I have a sinking feeling that the vast majority of Father of the Bride fans are quite happy already with their DVD sets.