Bad Movies We Love: Father of the Bride Part II
A friend of mine once explained to me her chief problem with movies: "I don't like when movies have conflicts. Can't we just hang out with the characters and make jokes and have fun? It's nicer that way." This week's Bad Movie We Love answers that harebrained prayer with a conflict-free plot, a smiley disposition from beginning to end, and a huge helping of total irrelevance. It's the 1995 sequel Father of the Bride Part II starring The Big Year's lead amigo Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, and a company of stress-free actors. Father of the Bride Part II is the cinematic equivalent of vanilla ice cream with butterscotch syrup: old-fashioned, tasty, and fit for consumption on a Sunday afternoon with your grandparents. Put in your dentures and watch the sedatest version of a "wild and crazy guy" you'll ever see.
Though it's a remake of the Spencer Tracy/Elizabeth Taylor sequel Father's Little Dividend, Father of the Bride Part II kicks off where the 1991 "original remake" left off: Steve Martin and Diane Keaton remain an upper-middle class, beige-loving couple with a married daughter. Awww. Happy! Clappy! But when their daughter declares she's pregnant, Martin and Keaton don't realize they have a surprise of their own: Keaton is pregnant too! Ohhhhhh. This will lead to all sorts of confusion, such as... nothing. There is no confusion. There is no conflict. This is a movie about a pregnant middle-aged woman, her pregnant daughter, their husbands, quaint narration, and spurts of infomercial-grade zaniness from wedding planners Martin Short and B.D. Wong. It is chronically pleasant.
You may wonder why you should see such an inconsequential piece of Sunday schmaltz, and the stork has some shocking news for you: You will watch this movie 50 fucking times. You will watch it in the mornings. During summer. On weekday evenings. In winter. On TBS. On Demand. On Netflix Instant. You will love it. It will mean nothing. It will be your everything. It will help you live. With its barrels of zilch. And aisles of smiles. Smile! Smile. Sleepy now. Go to sleep. Steve Martin loves you. Diane Keaton whisks you into the arms of Morpheus. La-la. Thank you.
More formally, there are five reasons to pick up Father of the Bride Part II for repeat viewings. Essentially, screenwriter Nancy Meyers should've called it It's Even Less Complicated. Enticed yet?
5. You say, "Prostate," I say "HAHA-state!"
It's a case of mistaken identity in the hospital when a sleep-deprived George (Steve Martin) is confused for a patient who needs a prostate exam. Do you like butt-tickle humor? Welcome to paradise. In a classic moment of "AH! Let me get to know you first!" snap reaction, Steve Martin flies out of the exam room with a frightened zeal that recalls his '70s SNL heyday.
4. A nursery that Anne Geddes might call "a little overdone"
Martin Short reprises his role from the first film as Franck Eggelhoffer, the wedding planner who decides to decorate the nursery for George's new baby. George is unconvinced that Franck will deliver a decent room, but he's astonished to find that Franck has crafted a beautiful space with just the right accoutrement. Meanwhile, we're astonished to find that Franck has crafted a scary menagerie of stuffed animals, insane furniture, and Hallmark Channel lighting. It frightens me. It looks like a cemetery for A.A. Milne characters. I'm traumatized and can't look away.
3. Speaking of horrifying menageries, here are two storks that showed up at the baby shower.
2. Diane Keaton rehearses for The First Wives Club in front of you.
We can argue about Diane Keaton's best work, but no one can deny that her most important role was that of Annie MacDuggan Paradis in The First Wives Club. Deal? Shut up. Strapped to a prosthetic belly in Father of the Bride Part II, we watch as Keaton lunges and squats to prepare for the difficult choreography of her future work with Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler. She's even wearing unflattering, tight whites. If you can keep your eyes off of flailing Ed Grimley for three seconds, you'll sigh in adoration at Keaton's seminal training.
1. A horrifying glimpse of Steve Martin without silver hair
Remember what I said about this movie being vanilla ice cream with butterscotch syrup? That still applies, but now there's a razor blade in the second scoop, and Steve Martin put it there. Try not to impale your gums on this photo of the banjo man, who spends the first 15 minutes of the movie enjoying a midlife crisis, with mousey brown hair. You'll notice that he looks like Ray Combs now, and the survey says, "I can't handle this." He has no character with brown hair! It's like Jennifer Hudson in a size-4 wrap dress or January Jones when she wears a real emotion: The essence is gone! Diane Keaton, your exasperation hits the mark, as usual.