Screen comfort food 

There are some movies that I know are not masterpieces, but which I like to revisit from time to time.

This is usually when I have had a tough week and just need something familiar and not too challenging. The genre will normally be comedy or Rom Com, or even Zom Rom Com if it is Shaun of the Dead, but having felt a bit down in the dumps and not a little homesick last week, I plumped for something American with cheese: Father of the Bride.

I have seen this movie a few times and I like it. One of the reasons is because it takes the convention of the wedding, but lands the increasing hysteria on the male character of the father, rather than the women in the family. The bride and bride’s mother (Diane Keating) remain very stable and sensible thoughout the preparation, while Martin becomes increasing unable to cope with an event that is getting further out of his control by the day. He is in fact, surrounded by people who seem perfectly able to manage this perfectly normal event, which given Martin plenty of scope to make an idiot of himself.  But the film has heart because at the centre of it is a man who values his family and loves being a father, a man who loves his wife and the home they have built together but who is not quite ready for the life changing event of his one of his children wanting to set up her own home and family too.

I know it was a remake of the Spencer Tracey film and I have never seen that, so do not know how well it rates in comparison, but I was thinking about it after I watched a load of Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and I found the Steve Martin one really interesting. Also Martin Short’s infamous and completely over the top scene stealing performance as Frank  or ‘Fronk’ the weirdly accented wedding planner is both funny in itself and also as a parody of perhaps how confusing Americans find European culture.

Despite Martin’s attempts to keep the wedding low key, he finds circumstances thwarting him, even as they plan a relatively small celebration, but it is not just this tension that creates the humour, but the dynamics of each relationship as it is affected by his behaviour. Personally, I never wanted a big wedding and ours was very small with just a few guests, drinks in the park and dinner afterwards. This means I can fully enjoy the horror that Martin has to go through while the big day is planned and I can watch it without having to relive my own.

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