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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Our Family Wedding

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service

Who knew that so much racial harmony could be brought about simply by dancing the electric slide? That's about as deep a message as you'll find in the scattershot comedy "Our Family Wedding" (Fox Searchlight).

It's the time-honored story of how the course of young love never runs smoothly when families are bickering. This update of "Father of the Bride" is given an ethnic twist by making bride Lucia Ramirez (America Ferrera), a Latina from a warm, hard-working Mexican-American family, and groom Marcus Boyd (Lance Gross), an African-American with a prosperous single father.

The spouses-to-be are idealistic. She's dropped out of law school to tutor immigrants -- her family's more disappointed with that than with her choice of a husband—and, just out of medical school, he's about to go to Laos to join Doctors Without Borders.

Explicit bigotry is absent, and racial badinage is kept to a pleasant minimum in favor of physical comedy, although that includes a crude sequence about a goat that gets into someone's supply of Viagra.

Otherwise, it's a cheerful outing that strains to be inoffensive. The women get into the typical preparations and visit a bridal shop, and the fathers (Forest Whitaker as Gerald Boyd, Carlos Mencia as Miguel Ramirez) get into physical scrapes and shout a lot.

The faith differences—Marcus is a fallen-away Baptist, Lucia a Catholic—are mentioned, but those, like all the other genuinely serious issues and potentially serious ones, are left unexplored. And, in the end, they are married by a priest.

Despite the few elements listed below, this nuptial comedy is probably acceptable fare for mature teens.

The film contains a fleeting instance of crass language and the implication of a premarital relationship. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


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Anthony Zaccaria: At the same time that Martin Luther was attacking abuses in the Church, a reformation within the Church was already being attempted. Among the early movers of the Counter-Reformation was Anthony Zaccaria. His mother became a widow at 18 and devoted herself to the spiritual education of her son. He received a medical doctorate at 22 and, while working among the poor of his native Cremona in Italy, was attracted to the religious apostolate. He renounced his rights to any future inheritance, worked as a catechist and was ordained a priest at the age of 26. Called to Milan in a few years, he laid the foundations of three religious congregations, one for men and one for women, plus an association of married couples. Their aim was the reform of the decadent society of their day, beginning with the clergy, religious and lay people. 
<p>Greatly inspired by St. Paul (his congregation is named the Barnabites, after the companion of that saint), Anthony preached with great vigor in church and street, conducted popular missions and was not ashamed of doing public penance. </p><p>He encouraged such innovations as the collaboration of the laity in the apostolate, frequent Communion, the Forty Hours devotion and the ringing of church bells at 3:00 p.m. on Fridays. </p><p>His holiness moved many to reform their lives but, as with all saints, it also moved many to oppose him. Twice his community had to undergo official religious investigation, and twice it was exonerated. </p><p>While on a mission of peace, he became seriously ill and was brought home for a visit to his mother. He died at Cremona at the age of 36.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, help me make my life more about you and less about me. May others see you in me—your image and likeness. Teach me ways to increase my time with you, my service to others, and my love for my family, for strangers, and for the poor. You are the light in the darkness. With each new day, may we be light to one another.

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