Film Review: Our Family Wedding

23/06/2010

Our Family Wedding is a formulaic but fairly amusing culture-clash rom-com. What differentiates it from other films of this nature is the fact that none of the protagonists are white; instead a Latino family clashes with an African-American one, over the wedding of their children.

Lucia and Marcus are madly in love and want to get married before they go abroad to work. The problem is neither of their families know about this. When they decide to reveal all at a joint family dinner, sparks fly…

Our Family Wedding is pretty much what one would expect from a film like this: humour based on cultural and racial stereotypes, a few prickly bumps for the star-crossed lovers, and the inevitable happy ending. Director Rick Famuyiwa does a fair job in creating an amusing film, though there is nothing too remarkable, as far as the narrative goes.

Hollywood heavyweight Forest Whitaker gives an adequate performance in a film that requires little effort, in all honesty. Elsewhere, Carlos Mencia, Regina King and Lance Gross are believable in their respective roles. It is America Ferrera who disappoints, bringing very little to the Lucia character.

Though the young couple may seem like the focal point, it is really their two fathers who take centre stage in this film. Their initial clash and one-upmanship are what provide most of the laughs in this comedy. Much of this feuding transcends race/culture, making the humour accessible to all.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Our Family Wedding is the paucity of white characters. Whilst films featuring non-white protagonists often have at least a white friend or sidekick,  Famuyiwa’s film completely omits white characters, save for a few extras. Thus, Our Family Wedding exhibits that a mainstream Hollywood film can be multicultural, yet does not need to feature obligatory white characters. It is an interesting role-reversal of the dominant ideology. It’s just a pity that the point couldn’t have been made by a more compelling or memorable film.

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Film Review: Repo Men

17/04/2010

If you are looking for a fast-paced violent thriller, and do not mind too much about originality, Repo Men is probably the film for you. If, however, you are expecting something more than this, you will most likely be disappointed by the end of this film.

Set in the near future, Remy, played by Jude Law, is works for a company that creates artificial organs. Along with partner Jake (Forest Whitaker), Remy repossess the organs of those who default on their payments. It is only after Remy has a heart replacement himself that he starts to have a conscious about what he and his partner do for a living…

The premise of the film is really quite interesting, until you realise how close it is to Repo! The Genetic Opera. Furthermore, elements of a number of other films appear to be present. Shots of the futuristic metropolis are immediately reminiscent of Blade Runner, whilst some of the technology can be likened to Total Recall.

Overall, the film imbues a feeling of technophobia. Like the aforementioned Blade Runner, as well as The Terminator and Brazil, there is a real sense of the ‘evil corporation’. Repo Men would, in fact, not be out of place with these mid- to early-1980s films. With a 2010 release, however, the ideas the film projects seem a little outdated.

Repo Men is an entertaining enough film, if it is not taken seriously. The action scenes well executed by director Miguel Sapochnik, and the performances are adequate. Furthermore, the soundtrack works well, using a range of songs from different eras to accompany at times disjointed scenes. The main problem with the film is that it is very much a case of ‘seen it all before’.