‘Father of the Bride: 15th Anniversary Edition’ proves Steve Martin film still has charm

Steve Martin (l.) and Diane Keaton watch their daughter, Kimberly Williams, marry George Newbern in 'Father of the Bride'
Steve Martin (l.) and Diane Keaton watch their daughter, Kimberly Williams, marry George Newbern in ‘Father of the Bride’

When Father of the Bride first came out, I thought it was a funny movie. I like Steve Martin, and together with his Three Amigos co-star Martin Short, the two are hilarious. But seeing the movie now, 15 years later and now a father myself, the film took on a different feeling for me.

I don’t have a daughter, but I felt more of a connection to Martin’s George Banks. That fatherly connection, being able to relate to his feelings for his child, the difficulty in having to let her go.

With that added emotion, Father of the Bride is still touching and funny, perhaps more so. This 15th anniversary edition was probably not all that necessary, but does provide some great features that weren’t found on the film’s initial DVD release.

Here’s the lowdown on the story:

George Banks (Martin) learns by surprise that his daughter, Annie (Kimberly Williams), has met a man in Europe and is getting married. His wife, Nina (Diane Keaton), is excited and calm, but George soon falls apart at the notion that his daughter is getting married. When he meets her fiancé, Bryan (George Newbern), he wants desperately to hate him, but ultimately can’t.

The tension builds and nerves get shot as the wedding gets closer, but George struggles to hold it together to make sure the wedding goes off without a hitch.

It’s a pretty simple story, and Martin is brilliant in a role that seemed catered for him. He plays the nervous wreck George Banks with natural wit. And his chemistry with Keaton is perfect. In fact, the chemistry between everyone in Father of the Bride is nearly perfect. Not a weak link among them. Martin Short stands out as the vocally-challenged wedding planner. The scenes between him and Steven Martin are just hilarious, making me wish these two would work together again (but I think those kinds of comedic films are just gone forever).

As for this new 15th Anniversary edition, we’re given a few new features that were not on the initial release. There’s an audio commentary by director/co-writer Charles Shyer, which is entertaining and offers some great little anecdotes about the production. But, honestly, the highlight of the special features is hands down the clips from 1991 of Steve Martin and Martin Short. The two of them do mock interviews with one another, and it’s just funny. I think I pretty much laughed through the who thing, and luckily it’s only a few minutes long.

In an increasingly cynical world, Father of the Bride is the kind of innocent entertainment that works. Perhaps it’s silly for me to like this movie so much, but I honest don’t think a light-hearted comedy has been crafted better.

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