Blu-ray
Worth a Look
3 stars
List Price
$26.50
Amazon
$18.49 (30%)
3rd Party
$17.43
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»
Overall Grade
3 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
3.5 Stars
HD Video Quality
3 Stars
HD Audio Quality
3.5 Stars
Supplements
1.5 Stars
High-Def Extras
0 Stars
Bottom Line
Worth a Look

Father of the Bride / Father of the Bride Part II

Street Date:
May 15th, 2012
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
May 31st, 2012
Movie Release Year:
1991
Studio:
Disney/Buena Vista
Length:
211 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

Father of the Bride

A remake of a comedy from 1950 in which Spencer Tracy plays the titular character and Elizabeth Taylor is the wife-to-be, 'Father of the Bride' has been steadily growing into a classic film of its own. And why shouldn't it? Twenty-years later, it continues to make us laugh and cry at a heartwarming tale with lots of universal appeal. Granted, it does play up the whole 'Ozzie and Harriet,' 'Leave It to Beaver' angle a bit much at times, finding easy resolutions to every problem with total ease. But again, why not? Although the plot deals with one of many fears worrying parents throughout the course of their child's life, it remains an enduring fantasy of escapism, where solutions to every concern would be most welcomed.

Similar to its inspiration, the comedy commences after the fact with Steve Martin breaking the fourth wall and reflecting on the events leading up to the big day, starting with his daughter's (Kimberly Williams) nonchalant announcement. Or at least, it seems nonchalant and frighteningly shocking to Martin's George Banks. One of the movie's most memorable moments is when he asks her to repeat what she just said and imagines the little girl he still imagines her to be. Scenes like this make 'Father of the Bride' such a wonderful film, perfectly capturing that feeling parents suddenly get when they think their child is growing up much too fast. This is a story all about George, about the experience of being a father — his worries, his uncertainties and worst of all, learning to like and accept what seems to be his replacement.

From a script by Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer, who also directs, the film confronts the stress involved in planning a wedding. The joke is on poor George when he learns that the groom (George Newbern) comes from a traditional family, though their mansion in Bel-Air is far from conventional. This means, the bride's family is expected to pay, including nine round-trip tickets for family in Denmark. Things escalate and the father of the bride starts literally coming apart at the seams when the eccentric planner Franck (Martin Short) starts racking up the bill. Thankfully, George has a terrifically patiently wife in Diane Keaton, who not only tolerates his overreacting behavior but also knows how to soothe his madness. When the big day finally arrives, George spends it calming the lunacy of others, but finishes on a memory that will last a lifetime. (Movie Rating: 4/5)


Father of the Bride Part II

Steve Martin and Diane Keaton return for the sequel, which is itself loosely based on the 'Father' sequel with Tracy and Taylor, and made to deal with the next big step in a marriage. No, it's not a house or a move to Boston as Martin's George seems to think. The newlyweds gather the family together at the Banks residence to announce the arrival of a new addition to the family. It's in these first few minutes, seeing Martin ramble on just before the big news, that we decide if this follow-up is just as good as its predecessor or a dull retread. Considering that the movie opens in the exact same fashion as the first, with Martin speaking directly to us and flashbacks to the beginning, it's fair to expect the latter. For me, 'Part II' falls somewhere in between — it's nice to catch up with old friends, but not very exciting to swap the same, tired jokes as if we've never heard them before.

It was funny watching George be in denial of his daughter's maturity and coming to terms with her becoming an adult. But here, he's practically bordering on delusional, convincing himself of other possibilities except the most obvious. Admittedly, his reaction to the news, along with the voiceover narration, is pretty comical — and it can be in several other areas of the story. And yet, it also feels fairly routine, like we've being through it before. The same goes when he receives another big announcement concerning Keaton's Nina. George's overreacting personality is put to the test, and is not as amusing as the filmmakers make it out to be. However, the car ride home did have me in stitches and remains the movie's best highlight in my book.

What also works best, and ultimately saves 'Father of the Bride Part II,' is the underlying worry of a man moving from father to grandfather. If the first movie dealt with George's child growing up, then the second comes to terms with him learning to accept getting older. The strongest jokes also arise from this conflict, mixed with George's best efforts to keep the two most important women of his life happy. By contrast, the weakest link is Martin Short's flamboyant wedding planner now turned baby-shower planner given a substantially larger presence. But after several minutes, he becomes rather irritating with physical gags that feel like desperate attempts at comedy. Still, not all is lost as the sequel shares enough family moments of laughter and tears to make it enjoyable and entertaining. (Movie Rating: 3.5/5)


The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment brings the pair of 'Father of the Bride' films to Blu-ray as an anniversary three-disc edition. Both movies are contained on a single Region Free, BD50 disc while the other two are DVD-9 copies. At start-up, viewers can enjoy a series of skippable trailers before being greeted by a photo still with standard menu options and music.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

Father of the Bride

The family comedy walks down the Blu-ray aisle with a mostly strong 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode (1.85:1). Unfortunately, the film really shows its age with several poorly-resolved sequences which also expose a bit of noise around the edges. It's not enough to completely ruin the film's enjoyment, but the blurry scenes can be somewhat of a distraction. Otherwise, fine object and textural details are good with consistent, well-balanced contrast levels. Blacks are noticeably full-bodied and accurate with excellent delineation during dimly-lit interiors. Colors benefit the most, especially reds and greens, giving the high-def transfer a welcome animated feel. (Video Rating: 3/5)

Father of the Bride Part II

The sequel makes its special delivery in much the same fashion, but between the two, this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode is the better looking one. The video comes with several noticeably dated, poorly-resolved sequences and showing a bit of mosquito noise in the background. The rest of the 1.85:1 picture frame displays an appealing grain structure with good contrast and clean, crisp whites, except for one or two minor scenes with slightly blooming highlights. Black levels are deep and true with strong shadow delineation. As before, colors come out on top with bold, nicely-rendered primaries and warm secondary hues. Definition and clarity are satisfying, but nothing standout or memorable, making it a passable high-def presentation. (Video Rating: 3/5)


The Audio: Rating the Sound

Father of the Bride

Making the whole event worthwhile is a lively DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. A front-heavy presentation, the dialogue of characters is well-prioritized and intelligible with surprisingly excellent channel separation. Imaging is warm and expansive with a sharp mid-range, first-rate acoustics and persuasive off-screen effects. Alan Silvestri's original score and the song selections take advantage of the high-rez codec with subtle bleeds into the surrounds and detailed instrumentation across the soundstage. Best of all is an attractively resonant low-end that provides the music with a great deal of weight and depth. (Audio Rating: 4/5)

Father of the Bride Part II

Jumping right into it, it's apparent this DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is not on the same level as its predecessor. That doesn't mean there's anything specifically wrong with the lossless mix. It's just not as engaging or gratifying, comparatively speaking. Vocals are still cleanly delivered in the center of the screen and well-prioritized with some decent movement across the soundstage. The mid-range doesn't falter, but it's not very extensive or pushed very hard either while low bass only seems adequate for this type of genre. Silvestri's score can be a bit flat at times and never stretches into the rears. In the end, the high-rez track gets the job done but there's little which makes it notable. (Audio Rating: 3/5)


The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

Special Features are ported over from the first movie and presented on the Blu-ray. But bonuses for 'Part II' are kept on the accompanying DVD.

Father of the Bride

  • Audio Commentary — Often narrating scenes on screen with a few pockets of silence, writer and director Charles Shyer rides solo for this amusing commentary, offering several trivia tidbits about the production and the story.

  • Invitation to Father of the Bride (SD, 11 min) — The EPK featurette is a straightforward discussion about the film with cast & crew interviews and BTS footage.

  • Martin & Short Interview Each Other (SD, 5 min) — A bit of fun and banter between the two actors that seems like left-over parts from the above piece.


Father of the Bride Part II

  • Production Story (SD, 4 min) — A very brief EPK looking at the production and movie's plot with interviews and lots of BTS footage.

  • Just Between Friends (SD, 4 min) — Similar to the above interview between Martin & Short, the short piece has the two actors go and back forth while clips from the movie are mingled into the overall piece.

  • Trailer (SD) — The original theatrical preview is also included.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

Aside from being a three-disc package, there are no high-def exclusives.


Final Thoughts

Starring Steve Martin and Diane Keaton, 'Father of the Bride' remains a memorable comedy from the point of view of the parents dealing with the stress of their child's wedding. Though the results are not as strong as its predecessor, the follow-up continues the family's journey with two big announcements, which are unfortunately hampered by Martin Short's annoying presence. The Blu-ray features a fairly good but mostly average picture quality of both films, but the audio presentation is a definite improvement. Supplements are the same as previous releases, but the overall package makes a decent addition to the collection for fans.

Technical Specs

  • Three-Disc Combo Pack
  • 1 BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc / 2 DVD-9 Dual-Layer Discs
  • Region Free

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/AVC MPEG-4

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.85:1

Audio Formats

  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • French Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles/Captions

  • English SDH
  • French

Supplements

  • Audio Commentary
  • Featurettes
  • Trailers

All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about our gear.

Puzzled by the technical jargon in our reviews, or wondering how we assess and rate HD DVD and Blu-ray discs? Learn about our review methodology.

List Price
$26.50
Amazon
$18.49 (30%)
3rd Party
$17.43
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»

Related reviews