By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | August 23, 2022

Rating: 4.5/5

The Essence: Andy Garcia is top-notch. His character has all the right ingredients of a Father of the Bride. Loving, strong, annoying… Adria Arjona is another actor who steals the thunder with her fluid performance. Diego Boneta showcases his acting chops with his delectable performance. Gloria Estefan is a delight. Credit here must be given to director Gaz Alazraki who manages the multi-cast star cast letting everyone have their moment, without anyone stealing the moment!

Father of the Bride Movie Review

Mamma Mia! Father of the Bride (2022) is a clean family entertainer with dollops of “this is how I began,” the starting line [90 percent of the time] of any conversation from an immigrant Cuban father who makes it big in the Big Apple.

A loving husband and a doting father to two grown-up daughters, Billy Herrera (Andy Garcia) whisks out a virtuoso performance taking it to a crescendo towards the end, finishing it off with the flourish of a Musical Conductor, whose troupe has hit the final note on cue for a ‘standing ovation’ finish.

He is a one-man powerhouse as he shoulders the storyline with the grace and foibles of a father who has roughed it out to give the best to his family and wants the only best for them. You can flaw Billy to a point, but you can never hate him as he lets out his angst and stutters along with his relationship with his wife and daughters. A cool dude with a heart of Gold.

Father of the Bride Movie Review
Father of the Bride Movie Review… Andy Garcia, Adria Arjona and Gloria Estefan in s still from the movie.

The end is the beginning

Relationships are what Father of the Bride (2022) is all about. Here, director Gaz Alazraki has to be lauded for keeping the cast well-knit into the storyline with not a character out of place. The beginning is the end, and the end is the beginning! The screenplay is so good that you immediately want to hit ‘replay’ as soon as Pharrell Williams of Daft Punk finishes off with his ‘Get Lucky’. Alazraki has brilliantly woven the beginning to the end like a skilled knitter whose knitting does not show the beginning from the end!

Like the legend of the Phoenix, All ends with beginnings… we’ve come too far to give up who we are…” So the lyrics go as the entire cast dances at the wedding.

Billy and his wife Ingrid Herrera (Gloria Estefan) are shown in the very first scene with a counsellor who has been with them for a year now. Exasperated he asks them if they want their marriage to work. While Billy says, “yes”, Ingrid wants a divorce. He tells them that they have to tell their daughters about their decision to divorce that day itself.

Sofia Herrera (Adria Arjona) their older daughter, a Lawyer, is coming home for a visit. She has taken after her father, working hard up to where he is at the present. Their younger daughter Cora Herrera (Isabela Merced) is a fashion designer and wants her ‘Papi’ to fund her business. Dad refuses, telling her that it is ‘College Fund’ and hence she has to first finish off her college. He goes on to tell her again, how he started with nothing and worked his way up. Not that Cora has never heard it from her ‘Papi’ before. But there is logic in Papi’s decision.

At the dinner table, before they can announce their decision to divorce, Sofia announces that she is engaged and will be getting married within a month to her fiancé Adan Castillo (Diego Boneta), a Mexican. She also informs her family, that she will be moving to Mexico after marriage. To top it all, as she shows off her engagement ring, she tells her father that she proposed which makes him ask, “Does a girl propose?”

The Father of the Bride in focus

From here on, the movie moves at a brisk pace with Dad diffident at first and then coming around; Sofia softening her ‘Papi’ with firm indignance and with genuine respect. While Billy is shown as being partial to Sofia, Cora takes it in her stride knowing that her father means well. However, it takes Sofia to bring Cora’s talent to the fore as a designer and change her father’s mindset towards her.

The meeting of Adan’s family with the Herrera’s, the decision on who will pay, and the ‘wedding planner’ coming on board all make for a wonderful viewing. Pedro Damián who plays Hernan Castillo, Adan’s father, is another trump card with Alazraki as he uses his character to put Billy in a fix, so to speak. Billy has money, but Hernan also owns a soccer team!

Towards the end, on their way to the reception, an overnight storm shatters their well-laid-out plan and a quick-fix wedding has to be planned within four hours at Billy’s place, which he had suggested in the first place.

Father of the Bride Movie Review
Father of the Bride Movie Review… Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan with some of the cast.

A performance-oriented masterpiece

Andy Garcia is top-notch. His character has all the right ingredients of a Father of the Bride. Loving, strong, annoying… In every scene, he is brilliance personified. Somewhere you get the scent of Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman with this performance of his. Although the movie centers around him, he could well have walked off with the focus entirely on him.

Adria Arjona is another actor who steals the thunder with her fluid performance and chemistry with her parents and the rapport she shares with her ‘Papi’. Her scenes with Garcia are priceless—for her expressions, body language, eye contact, and overall impact. She exudes maturity as she balances her affection for her fiancé, Adan. Played by Diego Boneta, Adan, the son of a Billionaire, showcases his acting chops with his delectable performance, which makes Billy state in the end that he wants to be like him. 

Gloria Estefan as the wife who wants out since her Husband is too engrossed in his work is a delight. The performer in her [balancing her love for Billy and managing her emotions with her daughters and her interfering mother] walks the thin line to let her character emerge victorious.

The genius of Gaz Alazraki

Credit here must be given to director Alazraki who manages the multi-cast star-cast letting everyone have their moment, without anyone stealing the moment! It is many moments like these stitched together with performances from every actor, even those in the crowd, that make Father of the Bride so lovable.

Truly, the end is the beginning. 

Streaming on Amazon Prime, this film is a must-watch for Fathers, Mothers, Daughters, and Sons… a pure family entertainer which sends you home with some life’s lessons.

As much as this is a film showcasing the talent and the brilliance of the performers, the genius of Gaz Alazraki is unmissable!

Director: Gaz Alazraki 
Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Paul Michael Perez
Star Cast: Andy García, Gloria Estefan, Adria Arjona, Isabela Merced, Diego Boneta, Chloe Fineman

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