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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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Augustine of Canterbury: In the year 596, some 40 monks set out from Rome to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons in England. Leading the group was Augustine, the prior of their monastery in Rome. Hardly had he and his men reached Gaul (France) when they heard stories of the ferocity of the Anglo-Saxons and of the treacherous waters of the English Channel. Augustine returned to Rome and to the pope who had sent them—St. Gregory the Great (September 3 )—only to be assured by him that their fears were groundless. 
<p>Augustine again set out. This time the group crossed the English Channel and landed in the territory of Kent, ruled by King Ethelbert, a pagan married to a Christian, Bertha. Ethelbert received them kindly, set up a residence for them in Canterbury and within the year, on Pentecost Sunday, 597, was himself baptized. After being consecrated a bishop in France, Augustine returned to Canterbury, where he founded his see. He constructed a church and monastery near where the present cathedral, begun in 1070, now stands. As the faith spread, additional sees were established at London and Rochester. </p><p>Work was sometimes slow and Augustine did not always meet with success. Attempts to reconcile the Anglo-Saxon Christians with the original Briton Christians (who had been driven into western England by Anglo-Saxon invaders) ended in dismal failure. Augustine failed to convince the Britons to give up certain Celtic customs at variance with Rome and to forget their bitterness, helping him evangelize their Anglo-Saxon conquerors </p><p>Laboring patiently, Augustine wisely heeded the missionary principles—quite enlightened for the times—suggested by Pope Gregory the Great: purify rather than destroy pagan temples and customs; let pagan rites and festivals be transformed into Christian feasts; retain local customs as far as possible. The limited success Augustine achieved in England before his death in 605, a short eight years after he arrived in England, would eventually bear fruit long after in the conversion of England. Augustine of Canterbury can truly be called the “Apostle of England.”</p> American Catholic Blog When we go through pain it is easy to feel abandoned or forgotten, but suffering doesn’t mean God doesn’t love us, He does. Even Jesus suffered, and He was completely without sin.

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