A review of Gaz Alazraki’s father of the bride

A review of Gaz Alazraki’s father of the bride

(left to right) Andy Garcia as Billy, Adria Arjona as Sofia and Gloria Estefan as Ingrid in Gaz Alazraki's Father of the Bride.

(left to right) Andy Garcia as Billy, Adria Arjona as Sofia and Gloria Estefan as Ingrid in Gaz Alazraki’s father of the bride.
Photo: Pictures from Warner Bros.

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 melancholy undercurrent. As the father of the hour, wealthy and sought-after Florida architect Billy Herrera (Andy Garcia) guides the viewer through a gentle journey of sepia-tinted photographs and grainy home videos, recalling in voice-over his proud past as a hardworking Cuban immigrant building a prosperous life from scratch.

Billy’s memories are mostly of his loving marriage to his dear wife Ingrid (Gloria Estefan), a loving and equally industrious wife. And while you’re fully aware of the slight complaint in his voice throughout this happily ever after streak, the sudden change from the present day – with the prickly and miserable duo now facing a couples therapist – is still a shock. It’s an unexpected shift in tone that quickly asks the viewer to surrender to a new remake with groundbreaking ideas, which pledges to chart its own path to a seductive romantic comedy that celebrates marital bliss and enduring family bonds. despite the odds against them.

Indeed, Alazraki and screenwriter Matt Lopez offer us a bold and sophisticated model from the start, redefining the tried and tested notion at the center of father of the bride through a diverse Latinx lens with verve and intelligence. Here, the traditional father figure tormented by his daughter’s impending (and very expensive) marriage must not only come to terms with his offspring’s assertive femininity and autonomy, but must also unlearn his old ways as a conventional husband and find out what it’s like. is. takes to be a good life partner in a modern age where patriarchy is not a definitive ideal. But can Bill pull it all off against a clock and meet Ingrid in the mutually responsive and adventurous life she wants to lead in the future?

Insisting on divorce for entirely valid reasons – imagine a well-to-do husband of retirement age who wouldn’t even go to Greece with you – level-headed Ingrid doesn’t think so. But the duo still decide to keep their impending split a secret, once their beloved Sofia (Adria Arjona) returns from NYU Law with a promising Mexico-based offer under her belt and announces her engagement to Adan Castillo (Diego Boneta), a heir to a beer dynasty and a lovable granola townsman raised by his ultra-wealthy, larger-than-life Mexican parents Hernan and Marcela (Pedro Damián and Laura Harring, respectively).

Also in the chaotic picture is Sofia’s polar opposite sister, Cora (Isabela Merced), an aspiring designer who, instead of going to college, aspires to launch her own progressive fashion line. And what prestigious wedding would be complete without a hectic wedding planner? Here, the honors belong to Chloe Fineman’s Natalie Vance, a famous social media influencer who sits somewhere between a well-meaning but ignorant outsider and a grumpy white lady who might be a hustler; it’s a delicate tightrope that Fineman possesses with a healthy dose of laughs.

It is surely a crowded web. But Alazraki and Lopez happily melt all the ingredients in a hot pot of generational shock, cultural conflict, patriarchal one-upmanship and domestic mayhem, allowing the uniqueness of Cuban and Mexican cultures to shine through in their Latinx tapestry, rendered by the designer of production. Sumptuous sets by Kim Jennings. Closer in essence to Spencer Tracy’s caustically nonchalant father than Steve Martin’s frenetic persona, Garcia appropriates the lead role with her organic on-screen charisma, on par with Estefan’s wonderful turn as a woman. headstrong woman who is not afraid to follow the desires of her heart.

The sisterly bond between Cora and Sofia, two inspiring young women who grow closer as they grow to appreciate and allow each other’s differences, also enriches the image. The end result of all this is a bit My Fat Greek Wedding and a small boobies rich asian in spirit; a sumptuous set enhanced by the sumptuous work of costume designer Caroline Eselin Schaefer – Sofia’s bare-bellied costumes are particularly breathtaking – the rich score of jazzy rhythms by composer Terence Blanchard and the committed lens of cinematographer Igor Jadue-Lillo which drives the film’s stormy finale through a dizzying maze, uniquely-take camera work.

But the real heartwarming part of the saga is Billy and Adan’s eventual affair, with the former learning from the latter the kind of behavior a contemporary husband should aspire to. It’s a development that reverses the script of previous films, convincingly arguing that young people can also be right about a thing or two, as well as the idea that sacrificing immigrant children are (or should be) allowed. to follow their own dreams. . This nice detail makes up for some of the film’s shortcomings elsewhere, such as the script’s frustrating tiptoe around Cora’s sexual orientation and her attraction to a bridesmaid. The suggestion is there, but it almost feels like some force in studio huddle rooms is secretly hoping you won’t notice. Certainly not every queer story has to be a heteronormative coming-out story. But in the traditional world Cora dwells in, the silent shyness on display feels like a misstep.

Don’t get me wrong though :This father of the bride is always a best-case scenario for a remake, an affectionately specific and universally brilliant take on a classic that walks down a familiar aisle with something new to say.

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