REVIEW: Father of the Bride (1991)

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REVIEW: Father of the Bride (1991)

Postby Xolture » Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:23 pm

Father of the Bride (1991)

I suppose I never saw Steve Martin replacing Spencer Tracey or Kimberly Williams replacing Elizabeth Taylor. The original film directed by Vincente Minnelli had charm and a number of fabulous sequences in it but Charles Shyer's film nicely updates the original film with some gut busting laughs for the ironic age. Shyer's films have a number of nice touches and references to other films including Martin commenting (as Banks) that he doesn't want to be bankrupt by the wedding and have to wander the streets in a bathrobe (a reference to Carl Reiner's film "The Jerk" starring Martin): Bank's character is named after George Banks (David Tomlinson) from the Disney classic "Mary Poppins"; the Bank's character's middle name of Stanley is borrowed from the father in the Spencer Tracey original and loads of other references to classic Hollywood films. This is the third turn for "Father of the Bride" (it was also a short lived TV series in 1960) and it's still delightful although this 15th Anniversary Edition is a year premature (the film came out in 1991).

George Banks' (Steve Martin) little girl Annie (Kimberly Williams) is getting married. All of the mayhem that you can imagine in a Steve Martin PG comedy ensues. Kimberly is marrying her college sweetheart Bryan (George Newbern). Banks doesn't have a problem with the concept of his daughter getting married but he does have an issue with his little growing up because, well, it means he's getting old, too. With delightful comic turns by Martin Short (as the wedding coordinator) and Diane Keaton, "Father of the Bride" unlike most remakes manages to update the material and make it work for a modern audience without betraying the emotional core that drove the comedy in the original film.

This version of "Bride" gets the deluxe treatment i the 15th Anniversary Edition. I don't know honestly if all of these featurettes and the commentary track were on the 2003 edition. I'd suspect they were and this is just a re-release in new packaging. The previous edition released two years ago was a nice anamorphic transfer. The sharp image quality and remarkable clarity evident here is a slight improvement over the original DVD release (although the previous version looked pretty darn good, too). It appears that the same transfer was used for this version and the film was tweaked a bit for the latest release. The 5.1 soundtrack

I seem to recall the extras here being the same as on the previous edition but that could just be faulty memory on my part. Either way, "Martin & Short Interview Each Other" is an amusing 5 minute, bizarre tongue-in-cheek featurette where they skewer each other, the roles they play and everything else in sight. At one point Short talks about how playing a woman liberated him in this film. He plays a man. We also get an 11 minute standard "Making of" featurette on the film with some amusing behind-the-scenes takes on the film.

Director Charles Shyer's commentary track is both informative and funny. Shyer discusses the challenges of directing a remake of a classic film. He notes that it's a fine line bringing a contemporary tone to the film but not playing with it or improving it into "a failure". It's particularly interesting to note that Shyer and Meyers both have a high regard for the original film. Hence, the things that worked well in the original (such as the opening monologue) are just updated (and, according to Shyer it took 35 takes to shoot the opening because of a number of technical issues that kept occurring). It's a pity we don't have Martin's comments or, for that matter, other cast members since Shyer recorded the commentary track 13 years after the film's original release (and he hadn't seen it since he finished working on it in 1991).

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Re: REVIEW: Father of the Bride (1991)

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Re: REVIEW: Father of the Bride (1991)

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