Saturday, January 4, 2014

Father of the Bride: 20th Anniversary Edition / Father of the Bride Part II Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Celebrate the platinum anniversary of the unforgettable comedy classic Father of the Bride plus the uproarious follow-up Father of the Bride Part II on Blu-ray for the first time ever.  Screen legends Steve Martin, Diane Keaton and Martin Short star in these warm and witty family favorites, complete with a new digital restoration.  Things get out of hand for befuddled father George Banks (Martin) when his young daughter unexpectedly announces her plans to wed.  Life gets even crazier in the sidesplitting sequel when his daughter and his wife (Keaton) both announce they are pregnant, and George desperately tries to capture the wild and crazy days of his youth.  Relive every heartwarming and hilarious moment in this special 2-Movie Collection.  It’s fantastic family entertainment that really delivers.

Film (3 out of 5 stars)

Father of the Bride (3 1/2 out of 5 stars) 

Father of the Bride stars Steve Martin as the father, George Banks.  George loves his life.  He has two great children, a wife Nina (Diane Keaton) that he loves very much, owns a tennis shoe company, and has a great house in San Marino, California.  His little girl Annie (Kimberly Williams) has been studying abroad and comes home with the news that she’s met someone and they are getting married.  That someone is a man named Brian MacKenzie (George Newbern).  George doesn’t like the idea of his daughter getting married.  He doesn’t like the fact that Brian is an independent communications consultant.  Everyone but George is happy about the news, and George has no choice but to start planning a wedding.
The first step is for George and Nina to meet their new in-laws.  The MacKenzie’s live in Bel Air, in the biggest house on the block.  The size of the house is intimidating, as are the Dobermans that don’t like George.  During a trip to the bathroom George manages to snoop in their medicine cabinet and their bankbook.  The bankbook ends up in the pool, where George will accidentally follow.
The second step is to hire a wedding planner.  Nina and Annie love wedding planner Franck Eggelhoffer, a man with a strange accent and big ideas.  George has sticker shock when they start talking about cakes and other details.  Annie says she wants a wedding at home, which has George imagining a backyard BBQ with a few close friends.  He will soon learn that a wedding at home doesn’t mean small, simple or cheap.  George will learn that the responsibility of the bride’s family is to fly in family from Denmark including two seats for one rather large woman.
As the wedding planning continues, and the budget swells to $250 a head, George tries to save money wherever he can. Attempting to save a few bucks on a new tux, he ends up with blue instead of black.  The wedding plans include some big home renovations and even geese.  George’s frustrations reach a peak and he gets arrested at the grocery store when the number of hot dogs in a package doesn’t match the number of buns.  After Nina bails him out, George promises to have a better attitude and the couple manages to give their daughter a beautiful wedding.

Father of the Bride Part II (3 out of 5 stars) 

Newlyweds Bryan MacKenzie and Annie Banks-MacKenzie call their parents together for a big announcement.  Annie is expecting a child.  Right away there is a small argument between Annie’s parents and Bryan’s parents about the child’s last name.  Annie and Bryan have an idea that they will create an alternate last name made from the letters in both names.  This leads George to ask, “I could have a granddaughter named Sophie Zenkman?”
At the same time, Nina has been feeling a little off and assumes that she is going through menopause.  A trip to the doctor tells her and George that the problem is not menopause but pregnancy.  George must now deal with becoming a grandfather and a father again all at the same time.  Bryan is called away on business and that leaves George to take care of the pregnant women.  He tends to their every need – most notably food, and air conditioning.
Much to George’s chagrin, Franck Eggelhoffer returns back to renovate the nursery.  Towards the end of the pregnancies, Annie has repeated false alarms.  When it’s time for the real deal, her doctor is out of town and a young doctor is there to take his place.  George is concerned about her age but begins to trust her when he sees she wears the sneakers from the company he owns.  Nina is suffering from a backache that turns out to be active labor and George must rely on Franck to help him as he runs between his wife and daughter.  In the end, everyone is happy and healthy, but George must say goodbye to his grandchild as the MacKenzie’s move to Boston.
Father of the Bride is by far my favorite of the two movies, and I did not expect to enjoy the second.  You can’t have aFather of the Bride movie without Franck Eggelhoffer and I’m glad Martin Short was included in both movies.  Both films are cute, sweet chick flicks with some really touching moments.  Steve Martin doesn’t go over the top with stupid gags and delivers some well placed laughs.   The relationship between him and Franck actually became really sweet in the second movie.  A lot of things made me internally say “aww” in both the fist and second movies.  For a non-sappy person I was surprised how endearing I found these films.  I know we just missed mother’s day but this set would have made a great gift for anyone’s mom.

Video (4 out of 5 stars) 

Father of the Bride (3 1/2 out of 5 stars) 

Father of the Bride Part II (4 out of 5 stars) 

Both films are presented in 1080p high definition widescreen 1.85:1 ratio.  The quality wasn’t spectacular, but it was sufficient.  Detail was decent with some above average sharpness that’s better than the previous DVD release but it could have been improved even more for Blu-ray.  There is some digital noise, particularly noticeable against the light walls and trim of the banks house interior.  Skin tones for both movies were more red than they should have been and they looked unnatural throughout the movie.  Black levels are aren’t as solid as they could have been either but they are acceptable and it does improve for the sequel.

Audio (4 out of 5 stars) 

Father of the Bride (4 1/2 out of 5 stars) 

Father of the Bride Part II (4 out of 5 stars) 

Traditionally, comedy films don’t both have the strongest mixes, but both of these films offer a robust soundtrack.  Dialogue is clear and consistent throughout the 5.1 DTS – HD master audio track.  The first film fares the best with an extremely strong mix that uses every channel to it’s full potential.  For a comedy film, this mix is surprisingly strong while the second film’s mix is the usual kind of mix that’s found on these kind of movies.  The rear channels are used well for the first film but aren’t used too much for the sequel.

Special Features (2 1/2 out of 5 stars) 

Father of the Bride (2 1/2 out of 5 stars) 

Father of the Bride Part II (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)  

The Father of the Bride features aren’t particularly compelling, including the banter between Steve Martin and Martin Short. Father of the Bride II has no special features on the Blu ray disc but there is a DVD included with some extras including an Audio Commentary with Steve Martin and Martin Short, and a production featurette.
Audio Commentary - Father of the Bride can be viewed with audio commentary by co-writer and director Charles Shyer.  The commentary is slightly interesting, but the Director does not come across as a very interesting guy overall.  The Director admits that he has not seen the movie in thirteen years but his recollection of details is good.
An Invitation to Father of the Bride – Interviews with writer/director, principal actors and producer, and a behind the scenes look at Father of the Bride.
Martin & Short Interview Each Other – Martin Short and Steve Martin don’t actually ask each other questions.  They just talk and joke to the camera.

Final Thoughts (3 out of 5 stars) 

I never saw the original film of Father of the Bride so I can’t compare the remake to the original.  Although this is a remake, I don’t feel like it’s necessary to watch the original to appreciate these two films.  Father of the Bride is a cute film and Steve Martin is a very sweet and likable dad with his funny moments as well.  I’m amazed that the sequel wasn’t a total disappointment like a lot of sequels usually are.  Out of the two films, Father of the Bride is by far my favorite but the sequel is almost as good.
Order your copy today!

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