Review: ‘Father of the Bride Part II’

As holiday confections go, this breezy sequel proves pleasant enough, assuming a reasonably high tolerance for sacharine in one's diet. Bearing little resemblance to Father's Little Dividend, the whimsical [1951] sequel to the original Father of the Bride that starred Spencer Tracy, this latest entry more closely follows the message of the recent Hugh Grant movie Nine Months - namely, that having babies solves all of life's little problems.

As holiday confections go, this breezy sequel proves pleasant enough, assuming a reasonably high tolerance for sacharine in one’s diet. Bearing little resemblance to Father’s Little Dividend, the whimsical [1951] sequel to the original Father of the Bride that starred Spencer Tracy, this latest entry more closely follows the message of the recent Hugh Grant movie Nine Months – namely, that having babies solves all of life’s little problems.

Steve Martin is again properly irascible as George Banks, who, with his daughter (Kimberly Williams) married and son (Kieran Culkin) heading into middle school, begins looking forward to enjoying his carefree years. George seems to be the only one, in fact, who can’t cope with the idea of his daughter becoming pregnant, prompting an amusing midlife crisis sequence leading to an afternoon romp with his wife (Diane Keaton) that – to the shock of everyone – puts her in a family way as well.

Director Charles Shyer and producer Nancy Meyers (who also co-wrote the screenplay) deserve a certain amount of credit for diving so unabashedly into this material, moving back and forth between broad comedy and shamelessly tugging at heartstrings.

While Martin’s tightly wound antics remain the pic’s centerpiece, the filmmakers brighten up the comedy with wacky supporting roles, expanding Martin Short’s presence as the foppish Franck nearly to the point of overdoing a good thing, while introducing fellow Second City alumnus Eugene Levy as the gruff buyer of the Banks’ home. Keaton and Williams are also both easily charming as the women in George’s life.

Father of the Bride Part II

Production

Touchstone. Director Charles Shyer; Producer Nancy Meyers; Screenplay Nancy Meyers, Charles Shyer; Camera William A. Fraker; Editor Stephen A. Rotter; Music Alan Silvestri; Art Director Linda DeScenna

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1995. Running time: 106 MIN.

With

Steve Martin Diane Keaton Martin Short Kimberly Williams George Newbern Kieran Culkin
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