Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

It's unusual to come across a comedy as plainly unoriginal as this one, and still find it to be quite enjoyable.

Steve Martin's narration and facial expressions are the funniest parts of the film, although they do make you wonder whether any dad could, after two decades of bringing a daughter up, still be quite so shortsighted.

For the most part, Martin exaggerates his title-role only slightly, resulting in a performance that is generally only a bit larger than life.

For example, at one point he's trying to not fall into a swimming-pool. Of course, with such a slapstick genius as Steve Martin in the role, it all threatens to quickly escalate into something akin to a Mr Bean movie, but then it doesn't. It's just not that kind of a comedy.

Instead, it's 90 minutes of niceness that simply doesn't want to raise any laugh louder than a long knowing chuckle. Realism? Set-pieces? Conflict? Naw, this is a generic girl's wedding-fantasy start to finish, complete with enormous house, doddery dad, live swans, and even snow. And absolutely no repercussions whatsoever for careless overspending. (NB. This is not a film for today's economic climate)

The movie's most repeated message is probably best-demonstrated by the scene in which poor old George tries to convince his wife and daughter not to spend more on the wedding-cake than he had on his car. In the real world their conflicting ideals and prudence would be alternative perspectives that both sides could benefit from listening to. Dad needs to soften his approach and appreciate his daughter's feelings on this one - it is her wedding-day. Equally, daughter needs to respect that her dad's life-savings are just that - life-savings. There are loving, respectful lessons to be learned by both sides here, but not in this film. He's just heartless and wrong.

As a result, without any budgeting, his daughter's uncapped wish-list results in such a gigantic extravaganza that we have to suppose that, after the closing credits, penniless George was indeed later declared bankrupt, and spent the rest of his life financially dependent on his struggling newly-wedded daughter.

But hey, it's not real life, it's a movie.

George, and I suppose I, would have had much more fun if we'd figured that out earlier.


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