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Doug's Take: 'The Big Wedding' is a complicated, funny story about baggage

Ellie (Diane Keaton, left), Don (Robert De Niro, center) and Bebe (Susan Sarandon) star in "The Big Wedding."
Ellie (Diane Keaton, left), Don (Robert De Niro, center) and Bebe (Susan Sarandon) star in "The Big Wedding."
Barry Wetcher

I had two movies to choose from this week for my official review, and even though “The Big Wedding” isn’t great cinema, trust me, I could have inflicted a review of “Pain and Gain” upon you. I endured that film longer than I should have and finally walked out when I realized it was all pain and no gain.

So, here we go with the story of a dysfunctional American family at its most vulnerable as they prepare for “The Big Wedding.”

Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton and Susan Sarandon star as Don, Ellie and Bebe, the three people most responsible for raising Lyla, Jared and Alejandro, adult kids played by Katherine Heigl, Topher Grace and Ben Barnes.

De Niro and Keaton’s characters were married but since the break-up Don has been living with Sarandon’s character, Bebe. They’ve been together so long that the kids see Bebe as another mother.

I know this is complicated, but stay with me.

Add to all of this the fact that Alejandro is adopted and his Colombian mother allowed the adoption to simply give him a better life and has remained a factor throughout his life.

But wait … there’s more.

Alejandro is the person who is getting married. Enter Amanda Seyfried as his bride-to-be who brings with her some very interesting baggage in the form of her parents, who have been friends of Alejandro’s family for years.

Ah, now the plot really thickens. You see, Alejandro’s mom is perceived to be very Catholic and will not approve of the divorce of Don and Ellie. What to do?

The kids insist that Mom and Dad pretend to still be together! What could go wrong? This is where Robin Williams steps in as Father Moinighan, who is described as having 14th century church values and advises the young couple.

I haven’t even mentioned the complicating factors that surround Heigl and Grace’s characters, Lyla and Jared. Quickly, Lyla is still mad at her dad for the divorce and is struggling with her current relationship due to infertility issues. Then there’s Jared, who has managed to stay a virgin but might be vulnerable to the advances of Alejandro’s frisky sister.

If your playbook is getting a little messy, let me just say that as all this works out, there are some very funny moments, some smartly written scenes and even a few genuinely touching interactions.

“The Big Wedding” is sassy, irreverent and replete with bits we’re familiar with from other wedding/engagement films and pretty much delivers predictable but entertaining performances.

I have to admit, “The Big Wedding” made me laugh out loud, so I’ve got to go with at least 2½ stars.