02 January 2013

Father of the Bride II (starring Steve Martin and Diane Keaton)

We enjoyed watching Father of the Bride in the summer, so when I learned that there was a sequel which was mostly recommended, I put it on my wishlist and was delighted to receive it for Christmas. Wanting a light and undemanding film on New Year's Day, while convalescing from various bugs, we decided that 'Father of the Bride II' would be a good choice.

One again, Steve Martin plays the slightly hapless middle-aged George Banks and Diane Keaton is brilliant as his long-suffering wife Nina. In this story, their recently married daughter Annie makes an announcement which is no surprise to anyone other than George... but gradually he gets used to the idea, and even quite excited about it.

Then Nina finds herself feeling unwell. Unfortunately I had read the blurb on the back of the DVD which told me what was going to happen, but it didn't matter over-much, although it slightly spoiled what could have been a surprise.

Meanwhile, they are both feeling rather depressed about their huge house with only their son Mattie (superbly played by Kieran Culkin) and decide to downsize.  Nina doesn't really think it's going to happen, but then out of the blue George manages to sell the family home to a wealthy Arab, with a cash bonus for a quick move... only to realise that it's not, after all, going to be used as a happy family home.

Oh, and 'Franck' (Martin Short), the extraverted and extremely bizarre wedding planner, appears again in this film with new ideas and designs; he seems more human this time, and as he gradually starts to grow on George, I found myself liking him rather more than I did in the first movie.

There's a fair amount of humour, some of which verges on slapstick at times, but it's interspersed with some quite poignant moments which made this less frivolous than I had expected. Towards the end there is a somewhat tense climax, followed all too quickly by a bittersweet ending which we, as empty nesters, could relate to all too strongly.

Theoretically this film could stand alone, but it would be a bit strange to see it without having seen the original 'Father of the Bride', as so many of the characters recur, and themes continue. So I would definitely recommend seeing that first. If you don't like that, you won't like this one either.

The rating is PG in both the UK and US, which seems reasonable; there's no violence and not much bad language; there are inevitably some sexual innuendoes, but nothing overt. I don't think the film would be of the slightest interest to anyone under the age of 11 or 12, and probably not even then as the subject matter is really only appropriate to parents, or at least people who appreciate the importance of parenthood.

Note that while the links to Amazon are to this film alone, it may be better value to buy the two-part DVD set which contains both 'Father of the Bride' movies.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

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