Who's In It: Forest Whitaker, America Ferrera, Taye Diggs, Regina King, Carlos Mencia, Lupe Ontiveros
The Basics: She's Hispanic. He's African American. They want to get married. It's Los Angeles. It's 2010. This should be no problem. Oh wait, her family thinks black people are...I don't even know what they think, but they don't like them very much. In fact, grandma shrieks and faints when presented with the smiling un-Mexican groom. And the African-American family is shocked when relatives from Mexico show up at the wedding with a goat (more on that animal in a bit). Lots of really stupid things happen for a hundred minutes and then everyone reconciles and parties together at the big reception. And if you're all bummed out that I gave away the ending, trust me when I say that the movie ruins itself better than I ever could.
What's The Deal: Stop the wedding! And by that I mean I would like it very much if the California State Legislature--since they seemingly have very little to do, with a lot of free time to think up stuff like anti-swearing ordinances--to declare a ban on Hollywood productions using wacky nuptials as a theme. I don't want to point any fingers but somewhere along the way wedding movies became an easy template on which to hang limp, unfunny material about warm-heartedly dysfunctional families or about people are maniacally fixated on having a dream day at any cost. You can call it harmless. It's not. It's semi-annual misery. And at this point I'd rather watch the dolphin slaughter sequence in The Cove on a two-hour loop than another moment of a movie like this.
Starring A Version Of Real Life In Which: No one has logical conversations, educated adults keep unnecessary secrets that lead to crazy misunderstandings that cannot be fixed because everyone's too busy screaming, food fights while taste-testing wedding cakes are hilarious and won't get you arrested for destroying someone else's place of business, and worn-out, Carlos Mencia-level racial-difference humor (Mexicans love colorful tacky decorations! Black people are always running around shouting about Jesus!) is the cutting edge of comedy. The one moment that resembles a world you might recognize happens whenever America Ferrera is on screen, bucking the trend of obsessive movie-Bridezillas
Why It's Always A Bad Idea To Win An Academy Award: Who can live up to it? No one, really, not even Meryl Streep. All it takes is one film like this and people say, "Look how his career is taking a nosedive." And that is how you can be Forest Whitaker and find yourself starring in a movie like this (that had to be a favor to someone), being sexually assaulted by a goat that's just eaten an entire bottle of Viagra.
Who To Blame: I take back what I just said. I am going to point fingers. Blame Nia Vardalos for all of this. She made the small, charmingly silly My Big Fat Greek Wedding look easy and now everyone thinks they should put their own spin on it.