Serial (Bad) Weddings (2014)
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I am not sure what most people expect to see when they go to watch a movie about such an absurd combination of facts. I, for one, went with an open mind, expecting extreme situations. However, once you get past the (obvious) exaggeration of the main story (a handful of races, another handful of religions - just ONE family), the various plot turns and outcomes are both believable and plausible.
There are a few cheap laughs, a couple of clichés, but other than that, the movie is very enjoyable and offers more genuine laughs. It doesn't try too hard with messages (I love that), the idea is just plain straight: we all hide a (however small or big) racist within, which, given the right circumstances can either grow or shrink. No man is bias- free.
It's a good movie, a well spent one-and-a-half hour.
"Serial Bad Weddings" or in literal translation: "What Have We Done To Dear God?" is a comedy about a family with three daughters each marrying a person of different race and religion than their own. If this were Canada or US, it would probably not even be worthy of a film. We all would like to believe that most of us are above racism in N. America, but keen observer will notice that racism has not disappeared, it is only better hidden. This creates a bit of a friction in many circles, and having a film like this goes a long way towards letting some of that pressure out. I am glad that French can still laugh at themselves, because most Brits and Americans will most likely be too scared into political correctness to enjoy the humor in this film.
To have a film expose and attack such deeply engrained attitudes head-on, is quite something. To have it done with "no holds barred" attitude, to the point of making one cringe and laugh at the same time, is what I enjoyed about this film the most.
The cast was absolutely wonderful, and besides Christian Clavier, it includes Pascal N'Zonzi who some cinefiles may remember from "Night On Earth" (the black VIP from an embassy... with "y-vois-rien" joke). Pascal N'Zonzi and Christan Clavier play off of each other so well, it is worth watching this film just for the two of them.
While the film occasionally flat-lines, the jokes are plentiful and well executed. There is only one sequence (maybe two?) that I am not crazy about... but even with that, it is very well worth watching just for the daring humor and attacking the issue of racism head-on in a truly funny manner. No one is spared - no race, and no racist, and everyone is better for it! All in all a good comedy that will not disappoint you, provided political correctness has not robbed you of your sense of humor.
The plot allows the writers and filmmakers to play with and discuss many important and serious issues, but to present in a humorous and way. Just imagine, that you as a parent of four daughters, get three sons of law with a different religion, ethnic background and not one of them get well with each other. You hope that the last daughter will bring you and ideal contender who meets you demands of a perfect man for your daughter.
The French have always been masters at comedy although in the last couple of years that trend has lost a little bit of steam, but it seems to be going at full speed now. After the excellent international success of The Intouchables, comes another film which has a chance for an international recognition. While the main premise and issues may be a bit touchy for some people, every jab at someone be it from ethnic point or religious point can't insult anyone because that is not the point. The point of the humor is look back on the globalization and the problems our multicultural society brings.
Relationships are made, men bond with each other but it is no way done in any pathetic way. From my experience this is exactly how things happen - the three sons in law become friends in sharing the goal of being liked the by the father of the family. They become friends in the childlike fashion. Or Clavier's Claude befriends the last rival standing in the way of her fourth daughter to have a happy marriage, by simply having the same hobby - fishing.
With 90 minute runtime this comedy doesn't have any spare time to slow down. This is laugh out ride since the start until the finish. I can remember only a handful of times when I have experienced the entire theater to be laughing out loud like this. This is a perfect comedy with the perfect cast and premise.
If you are looking for other funny French movies then see Rien a Declarer, Tais Toi, Les Intouchables, l'Enquete Corse, Vilaine or Bienvenue chez les Chti's. Read therefore my critics.
Final Rating 10/10.
From what I could see the movie was introducing a serious issue of France (its immigrants), but in a rather humorous way. The old couple just came in terms with their three daughters marrying a Jew, a Chinese and a Muslim and they put all their faith for a French son-in-law in the hands of their youngest daughter... So their nerves couldn't take it anymore when she brought home an African.
I have never saw the actors before, but I definitely enjoyed acting of the old couple and the father of the groom-to-be. The movie will make cry from laughing and wonder what would you do if your daughter/son brought home such in-laws.....We say that nowadays the world is connecting, cultures are melting together but when it hits also our private lives, I assume our reaction would be pretty similar to those of the old French couple.
Therefore I think this movie is fit for those who seek some comedy but also for those who like more "meaningful" movies.
This very very funny film is a no holds barred look at bourgeois french culture, and multi-culture. I nearly peed my pants I laughed so hard. Totally worth your time whether you're french or not.
Strangely, Christian Clavier reminded me of Louis De Funes, and some of the situations here reminded me of older french movies that i liked. However, this time I could foresee each and every madness Claude Verneuil had.
The jokes weren't neither rude nor offending, which is good, but they definitely lacked a spark or originality.
I felt that the director didn't want to break any rules or do something really crazy and funny, but rather go by an existing well established formula.
And, also for me, this is a success, possibly the funniest 2014 film I have seen so far. We will see if it stays this way. And the great thing about it is that the way they summarized the 3 first marriages early on so quickly, they could turn any of these into a prequel to this movie. The center here is the youngest of the 4 sisters (she looks like a French Rachl McAdams), who gets married to a Senegalese. There were really only very minor flaws there. One example, I thought the whole parents-possibly-divorcing story at the end was a bit undeveloped and random. And I also did not like those ethnicity-related nicknames they gave each other. These kinda lacked the wit the dialogs otherwise had. But these criticisms do not take away anything from the film, which was usually at its best when it did not try to be dramatic, but 100% comedy. The ending is unsurprisingly the wedding and the speeches of the two dads provide nice closure.
Performance-wise the highlight was former Astérix (wow, did he look different back then) Christian Clavier. His face expressions were always so hilarious, early on at the three wedding ceremonies already. He had the funniest scenes of the film, the motor saw scene or his reaction when he hears that his new son-in-law will be a Christian named Charles. (How did he not know the name? The two shared an apartment for over a year.) He looked so happy. And then his face expression, when he sees him the first time. Awesome. But all the others did fine too, the wife, the daughters, the husbands... My favorite scene from the husbands was when they unite to prove that the Senegalese cheats on his soon-to-be wife. Another comedic highlight of the film, especially when they find out it was actually his sister. Even the minor characters are very funny, like the priest with his laughing fit or the psychologist who always has the right answers to his patients' questions.
The one thing I did not recognize so strongly here was the music, which is usually very specific in French movies. But that could have been because I was just too distracted and entertained by the action and humor. Really quality movie and you will find it truly funny if the politically incorrect humor is your cup of tea.
Christian Clavier plays Claude Verneuil, and Chantal Lauby plays his wife, Marie Verneuil. They have four beautiful daughters. One has married a Chinese man (presumably Buddhist), one has married an Israeli Jew, and one has married an Algerian Muslim. The fourth daughter announces that she is engaged to a Catholic!
What makes these marriages "bad," is that the Verneuils are very French, and very Catholic, and none of their first three sons-in-law was born in France or is Catholic. However, they are all intelligent men and excellent husbands. The weddings are more or less "bad" in the eyes of the Verneuils, but not necessarily in the eyes of anyone else but their priest.
What makes the fourth marriage--to a Catholic--"bad" makes up the plot of the movie. It's not subtle, but it is funny. My wife and I laughed aloud at several scenes, and so did the rest of the audience.
I entitled this review "Funniest film at the Rochester Jewish Film Festival." The Rochester International Film Festival committee made a real effort to find funny films, but none of the other comedies RIJFF presented struck me as very funny.
This film is funny, but it isn't Jewish. It's true that one son-in-law is Jewish, but he's just there to fill out the set of three non-Catholic spouses. I think it's fine that this film isn't truly a "Jewish" film, because I like the fact that RIJFF reaches out beyond the strict definition of films that a Jewish Film Festival should show. And, unlike the comedy/drama combinations at the Festival, this movie was pure comedy. My thought about the other "comedies" was that the drama weighed down the comedy, and the comedy weighed down the drama. Not for this film--it was simply a very funny movie. No real drama--just comedy.
We saw this film at Rochester's Dryden Theatre as the closing night presentation of the highly regarded Rochester International Jewish Film Festival. It will probably work a little better on the large screen, but it will be fine on the small screen as well. I highly recommend it.
Of course your sense of humor has to fit the need and what is being served here. But the movie does not take prisoners and does not care what politically correct is. Still it manages to be sweet at the same time. It's amazing and you cannot really grip how they managed to do that, but you can watch them do it and enjoy it
I recommend watching it. I am in process of learning french and this is one movie which make you to want to learn french and love this country.
Congruatulation to the regizors for making it so funny and real, as this is real not only in France but in entire world! Good pointed!
Now, if you laughed at this, you'll probably enjoy "Serial Bad Weddings" whose basic premise is a like a big joke starting with an Arab, a Jew and a Chinese entering a Catholic family.
This is, in a nutshell, the most successful French movie of 2014 and I bet it will stand for decades as the ultimate movie about mixed marriages. No one can resist a good ethnic joke, and on that level, the film is an exhilarating opportunity to vent all our prejudices in a politically incorrect but democratic way.
And comedy was the only way the film could work. In 2006, one named "Bad Faith" dealt with a marriage between a Muslim and a Jewish girl. It was a serious film, with serious actors and no one remembers it. Indeed, in France, some subjects are too important to be given importance. "Serial Bad Weddings" doesn't commit such a mistake and deals with ethnic prejudices in such a lighthearted way it set everyone's hearts ready to receive the positive message about tolerance, the director, Philippe de Chauveron, is eager to deliver.
It starts with the Verneuils, an uptight and conservative Catholic couple: Claude (the inevitable Christian Clavier) and Marie (Chantal Lauby). They have four daughters; three of them married a Muslim, a Jewish and a Chinese. They're all French citizens, with decent jobs and easy-going personalities but with four different backgrounds around the same table, you multiply by four the odds of the 'word' too many. This 'tension' naturally accentuates the comedic effect of the gags, and the screenplay gets away with all its offensive material about circumcision, sneakiness of Chinese people, Arab quarters.
It works because, unlike the forgotten "Bad Faith", there's more cultural diversity, the film can be offensive to Arabs, but the Arab lawyer (Medi Sadoun) makes fun of the Chinese (Fréderic Chau), the film can be offensive to the Chinese, but the Chinese mocks the Jew, reminding him that China took over their traditional manufacturing business (a fact, the trilogy "Would I Lie To You?" dealt with in its third opus), and the film is immune to anti-Semitic allegations, because the Jewish character played by Ary Arbittan uses the Chinese as his personal punching ball (a clash with the Arab being another tactfully avoided stereotype). In terms of potential offensiveness, it's the "sprinkled sprinkler" story.
The film gracefully swings between all the traps such a risqué subject could have pulled, by providing both the poison and the antidote and then attracting a wider range of audience, including the French "WASP". One can even say the joke is on the Catholics, but then, the Arab reveals that he's got a problem with Moroccans (he's Algerian), the Jew with Ashkenazi, so to a certain extent, the prejudice of the parents is 'acceptable' in the sense that it is probably more related to the religion of the son-in-laws than their ethnicity. But this is where the film plays nicely with its own concept, just when Claude and Marie try to accommodate, enjoy their time with their son-in-laws and grandchildren, the last daughter decides to marry a Catholic man, named Charles. For the parents, it is too good to be true, they don't even mind that he's an actor, but there had to be a catch.
Charles (Noom Dyawara) is from Ivory Coast and the pivotal news of their marriage create four unexpected reactions. The African father, a tyrannical patriarch played by Pascal N' Zonzi, is disappointed in his son (prejudice is everywhere) and makes an effort to be as odious to the Verneuils as possible. Claude can't take it anymore, while Marie surrenders to the 'flavor of the time'. The in-laws know this will be the deathblow to the equilibrium they reached and even the sisters blame the little one for ruining their parents' life. Obviously, it was the mixed marriage too many.
But as a way to counterbalance the unfair deal the African guy is given, even from the Verneuil's standpoint, a more specific focus is made on his marriage, (we actually never see the other families). The film then creates an interesting bond between the two fathers, and their complicity is like the one that put the son-in-laws together, based on prejudices but better to build a friendship on weaknesses than an enmity on pride. The film always manages to show that we can overcome the ethnic barriers, and maybe it was the perfect timing when so many politicians claim that France isn't a multicultural society. And the film proves it wrong but never at the expense of realism. Indeed, the in-laws drink alcohol, don't mind visiting the Church, and sing the Marseillaise with passion.
Some would say the daughters weren't given important roles, but they were the tolerant ones, they had no prejudice to overcome, this is why they were less interesting. I must admit I didn't really care for them. But did I care for the rest! This is a film that will certainly be remembered as the 2010's answer to another ecumenical classic "The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob", a film about a Catholic bigot and an Arab revolutionary leader disguised as Rabbis. The kinship is so obvious that even the parents made a reference to the film and to Louis de Funès. Clavier plays a similar role in this film and proves again, what was already established in the 90's, he's the greatest French comical actor of his generation, and he puts such naturalness in the film, I almost suspected it wasn't a character part.
The French title literary means "Lord, What Did We Do Wrong?" well, whatever the parents did wrong, this film did nothing wrong and was blessed with a superb cast, and a screenplay as delightful, smart and irresistible as a good old ethnic joke.
I laughed all along. It's all I can say! I enjoyed every minute of our protagonists (a traditional French couple) trying to cope with their 4 daughters marrying men of non- French origins: an African, an Arabic, a Jew, and a Chinese.
As a negative note, I would say some of the actors are a little weak and/or the scenes are a little forced, but you'll forget it quickly enough when you are caught bursting into laughter over and over again.
I could not recommend it highly enough. You will laugh, surely. If you don't, I'll give you your money back.
The fathers of the bride and groom were two amazing roles, getting so many laughs! I enjoyed also the sons in law with all the rivalry and of course the end that was much expected but was still satisfying.
I would like to see less "nation-specific" jokes that only French can actually get, but other than that this is a movie that you will enjoy. Its quite lengthy but it's not slacking at any point, so time will fly.
I would say that this is a nice movie to relax with after a tiring day, and go to bed lightheaded and filled with a pleasant feeling all in all.
Monsieur Claude was a big disappointment especially after seing a movie like Crustacés & coquillages (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0428430/).