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“What are we, the schmaltz family?” asks Matty, played by Kieran Culkin, the now grownup son of Steve Martin’s George and Diane Keaton’s Nina in Father of the Bride Part 3 (ish). This is the special online quasi-threequel to the first two feelgood movies, written and directed by Nancy Meyers, and based on the original 1950 film with Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor.
The answer to Matty’s question is of course yes. They are super-schmaltzy. To combat Covid depression, Nancy Meyers is injecting schmaltz like President Trump with bleach.
The Banks family here reunite for a Zoom call — yes, sadly, it’s nothing more ingenious and original than that — so that Matty can get hitched live to his fiancée in a surprise socially distanced wedding in front of all his family. So Steve Martin gets to be father of the groom! Matty springs this on his dad then and there, and Martin’s face becomes immobile with shock, so that everyone thinks his screen must have frozen — a joke Meyers appears to have pinched from the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler film Sisters.
It’s just so weird to see Culkin in this sudsy, cutesy role, as he now brings his dark Succession energy with him; his renown as the aggressively dysfunctional media-dynasty princeling from the smash-hit HBO TV show basically dwarfs everything in the sugary FOTB franchise. It’s hard to watch Culkin tearing up, when we last saw him ecstatically masturbating against the window in his corner office, turned on by money and power.
And who is Matty’s father-in-law to be? Well, it’s a humungous A-lister cameo, and it would be unsporting to reveal this to people who have still to watch, but the face of this legendary star is just as weirdly pasty and video-bland as everyone else’s here.
This movie special is a charity fundraiser, very like Richard Curtis’s Red Nose Day Actually (or Love Actually 2) in 2017, and the charity rationale is perhaps an alibi for the lack of real gags although Curtis did challenge heteronormative assumptions with a same-sex wedding. Nancy Meyers clearly isn’t ready for that.
Kimberly Williams is back as daughter Annie, and George Newbern is her husband Bryan (ie the groom who as a moon-faced youth gave Steve Martin such grief originally) and he is joining the Zoom call from his office — thus explaining why the couple are not together. Martin Short reprises his wacky role as the European wedding planner Franck Engelhoffer by conducting the ceremony from Italy. Florence Pugh plays George’s granddaughter — the baby we saw in the second movie.
And as for Steve Martin and Diane Keaton themselves … well, as the actors are themselves of course not from the same household in real life, how is Nancy Meyers to explain their appearance on separate screens? Well, Nina is insisting George shields in a separate part of the house and he winds up by pleading, “Will you please let me back into my room?”
It’s all very weak, but Nancy Meyers fans (I myself fell under her dark spell, just a little, for the sucrose It’s Complicated) will forgive her. The Zoom call trope is now very hackneyed but perhaps — in art, as in life — it’s the only game in town right now.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Father of the Bride 3 review: Zoom reunion helps you miss weddings a little less | Film