Son of a…

 

The Son of the Bride

Directed by Juan Jose Campanella

(Ricardo Darin, Hector Alterio, Norma Aleandro, Eduardo Blanco)

R

The Son of the Bride is all about Rafael Belvedere (that’s right boys, a regular Mr. Belvedere) who runs a quaint yet gussied-up Italian restaurant in Buenos Aires. From one perspective, he’s living it up. From another, he’s “lost in a sea of troubles” (thanks, Will). Hitting the fan all at once is the cultivating stress of his restaurant and potential buyers, moronic employees, an ex-wife, a daughter he shears from his life, a mother with Alzheimer’s, a father who’s half way there, and a hot, young, undersexed girlfriend who adores him (the last being the worst part, of courseÖ.). Now sooner or later, something’s going to give. Dad Nino (Hector Alterio) and son fight over a superfluous “re-marriage” that Nino wants to do for his senile wife, Norma (who can’t remember their first). Altering Rafael’s perspective happens to come from his father, a delectable plate of tiramisu.

There’s just enough to save this movie from the cynical pen wielded upon those products of schmaltz. A childhood friend shows up just before Rafael’s life goes into the blender. Funnyman Juan Carlos (Eduardo Blanco) brings a bit of Roberto Benigni (although a tad more reserved) to an already fortified cast. Carlos attacks the greedy acrimony of Rafael with wry humor, chipping away at the hardened resolve.

While The Son of the Bride certainly latches on to the romanticizing of life with an over-the-top earnesty, it’s great to see so bitter a character in the early part of a film gradually adjust his life, rather than in an unbelievable swoop. Director Campanella did a fine job burdening Rafael and then letting the character work out of his own mess. For 124 minutes, it’s well paced, getting everything accomplished it was set out to do without any unnecessary battles.

– Sean McGrath

 

Son of the Bride opens at the Lagoon this Friday.