Big Wedding, The (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 4-Sep-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Featurette-Making Of-Co-ordinatng The Big Wedding (15:57)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 88:59
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Justin Zackman

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Diane Keaton
Robert De Niro
Susan Sarandon
Katherine Heigl
Topher Grace
Ben Barnes
Amanda Seyfried
Robin Williams
Christine Ebersole
Patricia Rae
Ana Ayora
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $44.95 Music Nathan Barr

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Title at start, credits at end of film.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   The good news about the romantic comedy The Big Wedding is that it is not nearly as bad as we have come to believe. This film received extremely poor reviews when it was released in the U.S. earlier this year, and box-office performance was disappointing. So, when I put the Blu-ray disc into the player my expectations were low - knowing how dreadful recent romantic comedies frequently are. Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton amongst the cast was no guarantee. De Niro, who still stands for me as the greatest screen actor since Spencer Tracy, has made some comedy shockers in his senior years, and Diane Keaton's appalling Because I said So (2007) is the only film, in a lifetime of moviegoing, that I could not sit through. Maybe my low expectations made me ready to be pleasantly surprised by this new effort. Whatever the reason, at the film's close I felt that I had been pleasantly entertained for ninety minutes by a comedy that, though stolidly unfunny, at least was diverting and at times even amusing.

     First the basic problem with the film. Like my last reviewed film, Upside Down, The Big Wedding is again the work of a young screenwriter cum director. In this case it is the first feature for young Justin Zackman, who provided the screenplay for The Bucket List. Once again we have a writer who does not seem capable of developing situations or creating dialogue that develops character and explores situations. In Upside Down neither the romantic love story nor the deeper themes were developed, and in The Big Wedding the writing makes almost no use of basic setups. One example is the introduction of one character's obsession with pug dogs. The obsession is presented to us, but not used by the writer. Owning pugs is not in itself funny. It has to be used and made funny through the writing. Even the basic situation, that of the ex-wife passing herself off as the current spouse, goes nowhere. All we get is the rushed hiding of photographs and that's it.

    Watching The Big Wedding is rather like browsing through one of those big, glossy magazines in a doctor's surgery waiting room. The pictures are glossy and bright, with lovely people, beautifully dressed and depicted in picture perfect settings. There's not much substance, but it fills the time without ever grabbing your attention. Zackman's screenplay for his similarly glossy movie is based on a French film, Mon frere se marie, and opens with the arrival of Ellie (Diane Keaton) at the magazine beautiful Connecticut home she once shared with Don (Robert De Niro). Ellie is there to attend the wedding of their adopted son, Alejandro (Ben Barnes) to  Missy (Amanda Seyfried), daughter of Muffin (Christine Ebersole). Ellie and Don also have two biological offspring, Jared (Topher Grace), still single, and Lyla (Katherine Heigl), married but attending the wedding spouseless. Don has been in a relationship for ten years with Bebe (Susan Sarandon), old best friend of Ellie. Alejandro's natural mother, Madonna (Patricia Rae) is also attending the wedding, with her daughter Nurla (Ana Ayora). So as not to offend Madonna's religious beliefs, Ellie and Don are, for the weekend, to pretend to still be married, while Bebe vacates the house, pugs in tow, to return purely as the caterer for the wedding. The ceremony is to be conducted by Father Moininghan (Robin Williams). This is quite an ensemble, with a couple of minor characters to boot, and the assembled cast is formidable. The seasoned stars are charmers in their roles, with unexpected subtlety all round. The younger brigade are equally fine, with not a bimbo - or muscled himbo - in sight. Particularly likeable are Amanda Seyfried ( Letters to Juliet), never lovelier that in this surprisingly subdued role, and the immaculately handsome Ben Barnes (Easy Virtue). Robin Williams (Insomnia)  is even low-keyed, and Tony winning Broadway musical star (Grey Gardens) Christine Ebersole makes much of very little, as well as supplying a most attractive vocal, Gently Down the Stream, under the end credits. The novice filmmaker may have failed to deliver a witty script, and he does descend to some gross moments. However, there is nothing vulgar in the performances, and we have to admire the young director's handling of his large cast. This consistency of tone is evident in the senior stars, the young adults, Katherine Heigl (27 Dresses) and Topher Grace (TV's That 70's Show) are both very fine, and the fresh-faced lovers at the centre of the festivities coul hardly be more attractive or appealing.

    The whole cast is picture perfect, and, indeed, the entire production is a feast for the eye, though much of the feast may look like a banquet pictured in one of those magazines. It always looks great, but you never get to taste it. The setting is beautiful, the gardens and the house glowing in the sun, and pastels dominate throughout, particularly in the wedding sequence. The photography is smooth and non intrusive, Nathan Barr's music attractive with a middle-of-the-road quality, Michael Buble even featuring on the soundtrack at the end of the film. Apart from the occasional lapse into vulgarity, this is a charming film. You won't laugh out loud, but you will get enough smiles to keep you happy as the director steers his immaculate cast through just under eighty-nine minutes - and that includes the credits -  of glossy, superficial entertainment.


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Transfer Quality


    The Big Wedding is a beautiful looking film. Every frame is meticulously composed, beautifully lit and designed to perfection. It's artificial and phony, and looks as bright and sparkling as the latest animation -  with a heavy emphasis on pastels.

    The film is presented at the aspect ratio of 2.40:1, its original theatrical ratio.

    Jonathan Brown's cinematography (The Family Stone) makes the most of the widescreen frame, with lovely compositions that fill the screen. The colour is glowingly lovely, with a dominace of pastels, though there is the occasional primary splash. Skin tones are great. Detail is fantastic, making the most of the picturesque exteriors, greenery and water, and the terribly tasteful - mostly - interiors. There is an absence of revealing closeups on the more mature stars, particularly Diane Keaton, but the youth of others is revealed in pore revealing detail. This is not a movie with dark shadows for the camera to explore, but the occasional darker scene maintains the high quality of the rest of the visuals.

    The movie is as glossy, artificial and  phony as a Vogue layout, and equally as stunning to behold.

    Subtitles are at the foot of the screen, with a range of colour used to differentiate between various speakers, as well as effects.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are three audio stream : English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1;
                                                  English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Encoded ; and
                                                  English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Encoded with Audio Description.
    The DTS 5.1 soundtrack certainly does not deliver a shattering experience, but what romantic comedy does? The dialogue, front and centred, is crystal clear without any sync problems. There is a minimum of movement across the front, and surrounds do little more than contribute ambience - though there is more activity in the climactic wedding sequence. The audio throughout is rich and smooth, with the music, original (Nathan Barr / TV's True Blood) and canned, adding to the overall gloss of the production.
    The Descriptive Narration for the Vision Impaired is given the usual, sonorous delivery by a bland male voice.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The features are restricted to a single fifteen minute behind-the-scenes featurette.


    The menu is presented very simply on a screen comprised of a still of the nine principals, with a montage of five soft portraits of selected stars. There is no audio.
    The options offered are :

    Play Feature
    Scene Selection :
Selection gives a strip of ten thumbnailed chapters at the foot of the screen.
    Bonus Features
: Featurette : Co-ordinating The Big Wedding.
    Set Up : Captions : Descriptive Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired
                  Audio Description : Descriptive Narration for the Vision Impaired
                  Audio Selection : DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 :  On/Off

Featurette : Co-ordinating The Big Wedding (15:57)  :

    Presented in Hi-Def 1080p this is a very ordinary behind-the-scenes featurette. Utilising scenes from the film at 2.40:1, in feature-like quality, as well as 1.78 interview material, stars and behind-the-camera members praise one another and the production. As you would expect, much praise is heaped upon the inexperienced director. Virtually all of the leading players appear, plus the director, producer, costume designer, set designer and others. The most interesting aspect is the interview appearance of Katherine Heigl. The actress appears in high def close-up without a trace of make-up, and looks totally beautiful. Bravo to her.

Startup Trailers :

The Great Gatsby
(2:41) : 1080p and 2.40:1.
(2:24) : 1080p and 2.40:1.
The Place Beyond the Pines
(2:29) : 1080p and 2.40:1.



    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The U.S. Blu-ray + Digital + Ultra Violet release contains the same single featurette, but does include Spanish subtitles.


   Here is a big, glossy romantic comedy, employing a large, talented cast, with a lush setting and high production values. The result is a distinctly unspectacular comedy, with nary a laugh. But, on the plus side,  the settings and the people are beautiful - especially in excellent high-definition - and the director gets the job finished in under ninety minutes. The script has little wit or originality, and there are a few lapses in taste. However, for the most part we have almost a dozen, talented actors performing for us, and they are good company. It's no great shakes, but there are heaps worse than this and the movie gives an evening of  light entertainment that looks smashing. There is one high-definition making-of extra that is unremarkable, but does feature interviews with all the stars.


Ratings (out of 5)


© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Monday, September 23, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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