These days, it’s hard not to feel like we’re in the land of remakes, reboots and revivals, with every other new movie and TV show being a reimagining of a former hit. But while viewers may be tired of this recycling of ideas, some of these fresh takes have been quite successful. When The Wonder Years was rebooted with an all-Black cast last fall, we gave it a perfect 5-star review. When Steven Spielberg remade West Side Story at the end of 2021, it went on to earn 7 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. If you’re going to remake a story that’s been told multiple times, you’ve got to add something fresh to it, and with that, we look at HBO Max’s 2022 remake of Father of the Bride.

Father of the Bride started out as a 1949 novel by Edward Streeter, which was quickly adapted into a film the following year starring Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor. Flash forward four decades, and the movie was remade with Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Martin Short and Kimberly Williams in 1991. Now, over 30 years later, we’re revisiting this story again, but with a fresh spin as it follows a Cuban-American family and Andy García fills the role of a hard-to-please father named Billy. Yet, while this remake makes a case for its place in the history of the franchise, it doesn’t quite hit the mark. Keep reading for our full review of Father of the Bride (2022).

Much like past iterations, this Father of the Bride follows a similar format—a domineering father, Billy (García), learns that his daughter, Sofia (Adria Arjona), has gotten engaged to a man she only recently started dating, Adan (Diego Boneta). And while his wife, Ingrid (Gloria Estefan), handles the unsuspected news more gracefully, Billy begins to spiral as the cost of the wedding and the involvement of the in-laws leads to chaos.

Although Billy is initially upset, he gives his blessing to the couple and announces that he wishes to follow tradition by paying for the entire ceremony himself, given that he is the father of the bride. But this leads to fights between him and his daughter, as he wishes to make the ceremony more traditional and religious, while his daughter wants to break tradition and make it her own.

There is an added layer of tension when we learn that Billy and Ingrid have been having marriage problems, leading Ingrid to ask for a divorce. However, when the pair learn about their daughter’s upcoming nuptials, they decide to hide it from the family and try to act like nothing is wrong until the wedding is over.

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It’s clear that the producers of Father of the Bride pulled out the big guns when it came to casting, and we get solid performances from all these major stars. Better yet, we also get a perspective that is still quite rare in Hollywood.

At the beginning of the film, we hear the story of how Billy came to America with almost nothing to his name, where he built a house for his family all on his own, eventually leading to a career as an architect and a successful business mogul. It becomes a joke throughout the movie that Billy recounts this story often and always changes small details, like saying he came to the states on a plane, but later switching it up to a boat or even a life raft. However, while this background is turned into a joke, it’s a small way in which this movie highlights the immigrant story in America and shows a different side of success, one that’s not tied to generational wealth or inherent privilege. It feels especially powerful in a remake of a film that has been typically dominated by white casts.

Additionally, the movie is rich with references to Cuban-American culture in Miami, and this intersects with Mexican culture when Adan’s family joins the group too. The music, food and use of Spanish throughout the film feels genuine, and it doesn’t feel like Father of the Bride is trying to cater or explain these cultural aspects to an Anglo-American audience.

Yet, while this new Father of the Bride breaks ground with its representation, it ultimately falls short in other ways. For starters, although the movie is technically defined as a romantic-comedy, the “comedy” side is often neglected. The movie relies on tension and frustration to drive the narrative forward and there aren’t enough laughs to keep the energy light.

Father of the Bride is also overlong (with around a two-hour runtime), but oddly enough, the viewer feels like they don’t get to know these characters well. Although Sofia is the titular “bride,” we learn little about who she is as a person (besides the fact that she’s hardworking and caring), so it’s hard to understand the dynamic between her and her father when we’re only seeing her dad’s side. Meanwhile, Adan is given little room in the film, and we’re supposed to believe that the relationship between him and Billy grows stronger after a single conversation the two have during Adan’s bachelor party.

Rather than remaking Father of the Bride yet again, this could’ve been a much more meaningful film if the writers had decided to make an original script that kept the focus on Latino traditions, but gave a deeper background to the characters, instead of just making them vehicles to retell a well-known narrative.

PureWow Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars

Father of the Bride is an undeniably important remake that highlights Cuban-American life and is led by an all-star cast. However, it too often relies on tension rather than laughs, leaving something to be desired for viewers hoping for a lighthearted watch. Meanwhile, the viewer can’t help but feel like this story has run its course, and the underrepresented cultural elements could’ve been better served with an entirely different plot.

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