Caution: Review contains spoilers!
A movie that brings to mind feelings of pure nostalgia for many is Father of the Bride. With an all-star cast and classic storyline, this 1991 movie is beloved by many and has certainly stood the test of time. Fans of this film, which is a remake of the Spencer Tracy classic by the same name, received a recent surprise from its writer and director Nancy Meyers, who announced and then teased on Instagram that a “three-quel” entitled Father of the Bride: Part 3 (ish) would soon air. Fans rejoiced! On Friday, September 25th, the newest installment of the series debuted on Netflix’s YouTube and Facebook pages.
Fans were elated to see the original cast reunite for this special, including Steve Martin as George Banks, Diane Keaton as Nina Banks, Kimberly Williams-Paisley as Annie Banks-MacKenzie, Kieran Culkin as Matty Banks, and Martin Short as party-planner extraordinaire Franck Eggelhoffer. There were also some newcomers to the cast, including Alexandra Shipp (as Matty’s fiancé Rachel), Robert De Niro (as Rachel’s father), Ben Platt (as George Banks-MacKenzie), and Florence Pugh (as Megan Banks).
The special opened with an introduction from Reese Witherspoon, announcing that the special was made to benefit World Central Kitchen and urging fans to donate to the cause. From there, the approximately 30-minute special was, well…special. We are greeted by cast members joining the story in a Zoom-like fashion, and they let us know from the start that they are incorporating COVID-19 into the storyline. Just seeing the cast together is exciting, and it’s fun to see how they’ve changed, yet stayed the same, now that they’re “all grown up.” George shows us that some things never change, as he remains a perpetual worrier and “over-reactor” to the pandemic, scouring the internet for PPE and cleaning supplies and sharing lists for his family members to follow in order to stay healthy.
Image via ETOnline
Once the OG cast members (plus the grown-up babies from Father of the Bride Part II) join the Zoom, Matty makes an announcement: he wants to get married to his fiancé. On video chat. Right then and there. The kicker? He hasn’t clued his fiancé into this idea yet. His bride-to-be, Rachel, is not with him in-person as she works at a hospital and is quarantining for the night at a nearby hotel. Once she comes onto the chat and agrees to the impromptu marriage, we’re still in for a few more surprises. Rachel’s father, played by De Niro, makes his appearance. Then, maybe the most anticipated reunion happens: Franck, acting as the wedding officiant, gives his signature “HALLO” and enters the scene.
The pureness of Matty’s love for his fiancé and his desire to be married despite the pandemic is heartwarming, and it’s great to see how the special centers around him despite the fact that he was a secondary character in the earlier editions of the film. Perhaps the best moment of this special is George Banks’ emotional monologue as the social distanced wedding begins, paying tribute to his son and the beautiful family he’s lucky enough to have, really driving home life’s most important things: family, togetherness, and love.
The special closes with a performance of “The Way You Look Tonight,” yet another homage to the 1991 movie, performed by George Banks-Mckenzie (Ben Platt).
Meyers, the cast, and everyone else who worked on Father of the Bride Part 3 (ish) did a great job making lemonade out of the lemons that the quarantine has handed everyone, putting a fun spin on it and bringing to light a new twist on a beloved classic. The creativity of the special in order to create a storyline where they could all be together while obviously filming from separate locations, is also admirable. In a word, this special was sweet, and it will definitely make you want to go back and watch the old Father of the Bride movies.
Best of all is knowing that this “three-quel” supports a great cause. To watch the special, visit Netflix’s YouTube or Facebook pages and visit World Central Kitchen to donate towards the fight against hunger.