George and Nina Banks have a near idyllic life, until their eldest daughter, Annie, comes home from college and announces that she is engaged to be married. While Nina and Annie throw themselves into the preparations, George - unprepared to accept that his daughter is all grown up, goes a little crazy...
Following on from the success of American remakes of foreign classics like Cousins and Three Men And A Baby, it is hardly surprising that filmmakers have started rummaging through Tinseltown's vaults in search of suitable American films to update for cinemagoers in the 1990s. Scorsese's remake of Cape Fear may be the most talked about, but another film to recieve this treatment is Vincente Minnelli's classic 1950 comedy Father Of The Bride, which originally starred Spencer Tracy and a young Elizabeth Taylor as his daughter.
Funnyman Steve Martin, taking the Tracy role, is George Banks, whose daughter Annie (Williams) returns home from college announcing that she is going to get married, sending George into palpitations while muttering "but she's only a little girl", while his wife (Keaton) is more interested in hiring a suitable wedding caterer.
That's pretty much it with regards to the plot, with George going from moping about losing his little girl to a man he doesn't like, to George moping about the rising cost of the wedding. Perhaps the highlight is Martin Short parading about as flamboyant wedding co-ordinator Franck, spending ludicrous amounts of money on decorations and menus, while talking in an almost unintelligible foreign accent.
However, the film is still a pale imitation of the original, with Steve Martin moving further away from his wacky guy persona and more towards the mildly amusing fortysomething seen in Parenthood. That said, there are still some laughs to be had, including a hilarious scene in which George begins by examining the contents of his daughter's future in-laws' bathroom cabinet, and ends up falling in their pool.
The film does work, but not quite as well as the Hepburn-Tracy classic that it seeks to replace. Mildly amusing.
Reviewed by Joanna Berrry