In the 1950s, Elizabeth Taylor was already a huge star. She was just 19 years old when she announced she was getting married (for the first time), and – in pre-reality times – MGM turned the personal event into a global one. With that came the film, Father of the Bride, directed by Vincente Minnelli, and starring Spencer Tracy about a man trying to deal with preparations for his daughter’s wedding. In the cast, were the popular Joan Bennett, the young Elizabeth Taylor, and other famous names at the time. The screenplay was inspired by a book by Edward Streeter and was nominated for Oscars for Best Actor (Tracy), Best Picture, and Best Screenplay. Elizabeth’s wedding dress was signed by Helen Rose, who years later made Grace Kelly‘s model.
In 1991, Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, and Kimberly Williams starred in the super successful remake, which gained a sequel four years later. It took another nearly three decades for an updated version to catch on. In 2018, Disney announced that it would make the Latin version of the original film, and that’s what arrived on HBO Max with Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan in the roles of parents of the bride.
This time around, it’s a Cuban-American family, more specifically that of Billy and Ingrid Herrera (Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan) dealing with the surprise of their daughter’s wedding. As ex-emigrants from Cuba, they have expectations for their daughters, and when Sofia (Adria Arjona) announces that she is going to marry Adan (Diego Boneta), a Mexican, there is the basis of cultural conflict using actors who speak fluent Spanish and working on the cultural nuances of the different “Latinities”.
The weird thing is… it’s not funny. Working all the clichés, it’s not funny at all, just another movie that deals with the prejudice of how Latinos still can’t be portrayed well in English. Everything is predictable and monotonous, hitting the keys of traditionalism versus modernism. The star is Andy Garcia, who is a little on the sidelines in cinema, but who doesn’t necessarily have the necessary comic streak. But it’s his seriousness that has found critical acclaim. And Gloria Estefan, a Latin music star, a big star before Shakira, is sweet as the neglected but empathetic woman.
A feather. It’s not a shame Hollywood can’t understand Latino culture. Another failed attempt.