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FATHER OF THE BRIDE
15th Anniversary Special Edition

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Martin Short, Kimberly Williams
Director:  Charles Shyer
Audio:  Dolby Digital 5.1
Video:  Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio:  Touchstone
Features:  See Review
Length:  105 Minutes
Release Date: 
June 7, 2005

"Let me handle this, George...give me your wallet..."

Film ***1/2

Hard to believe that Father of the Bride has turned 15...talk about a movie that seems like it only just came out!

I have participated in three weddings in my life (none my own!), twice as best man, once as a musician. Basically in all of them, I just had to wear the right clothes, show up on time, and do my thing. Those experiences were a safe distance away from the actually headache, chaos, and anarchy of planning a wedding and reception, so I remained blissfully ignorant of that aspect until watching Father of the Bride.

This is a truly wonderful movie in that it finds humor not in the outrageous, the crude, or the slapstick, but in the real, the everyday, and the honest experiences of very real and likeable characters.

Steve Martin is terrific as George Banks, the frustrated title character who has to cope with the madness and expense of a wedding while dealing with the heartache of losing his little girl in the process. Diane Keaton, as the mother, brings a welcome sensibility to her role and serves as a calming counterpoint to the usually over-reactive George. And pretty newcomer Kimberly Williams shines as the idealistic bride to be.

What really makes the film succeed, though, is how it balances real, honest emotion against the backdrop of comedy. I was, and am continually, surprised by just how much this film moves me every time. And it does so with respect for the viewers, and with subtlety, instead of the typical bells and whistles and signs screaming "Audience cry now!" It coaxes you gently to think about your own family, about growing older, and indeed, about the prospect of one day letting go.

Video ***1/2

This disc is a nice improvement over Touchstone's previous non-anamorphic release.  Colors are brighter and images cleaner, with crisper lines and better overall definition.

Audio ***

The 5.1 soundtrack is mostly dialogue oriented, but the music and a few nervously big scenes make for nicer use of the surround and add a bit of dynamic range to the mix.  Nicely done.

Features **1/2

This Anniversary Edition boasts a few new extras.  There's a commentary track by director and co-writer Charles Shyer, which is a pleasant listen.  There's also a production featurette and a funny bit where Steve Martin and Martin Short do an interview...with each other!

Summary:

Father of the Bride is a true gem, a quiet, unassuming, yet entertaining, funny, and thoughtful motion picture that can put a smile on your face, a tear in your eye, and a warm feeling in your heart that will stay with you past the end credits. They don't make many like this anymore. At least not this good.

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