Thank you, Nancy Meyers! Not only have you given us two heartwarming films we can watch again and again – Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride 2 – but you managed to write a short film and reunite the cast to produce the warm hug we need right now.
In the midst of this pandemic, Meyers watched families waiting in line for food. “What could I do?” she wrote in an article that appeared in the New York Times. She emailed Steve Martin with an idea: to write a short Part 3 that would continue the stories of the Banks family. The rest of the cast quickly signed on and other actors were added. The film, now available to view on YouTube, is a fund-raiser for World Central Kitchen to help those in need. (Click to watch on YouTube.)
In case you haven’t seen the first two films, or, even if you have, watch them now so you will truly enjoy Part 3. Twenty-nine years have passed since Annie Banks (played by the adorable Kimberly Williams-Paisley), married Bryan MacKenzie (George Newbern). Annie’s father, George (Steve Martin at his best), was a reluctant father of the bride, emotional about ceding to another man that special place he occupied in his daughter’s life. His wife, Nina (Diane Keaton), understood his feelings, but knew it was time for Annie to move on.
When Annie suggested having the ceremony at home, George was relieved, believing that would hold down the cost. Enter wedding planner Martin Short as Franck – the only thing more outrageous than his accent was the price tag of the wedding. Annie’s brother, Matty (a very young Kieran Culkin), provided some comic relief. Four years after that first film, came the sequel, Father of the Bride 2, with both Nina and Annie pregnant, thus expanding the Banks family.
How to create a Part 3 in the midst of a pandemic? Meyers recaps the first two films, with the original cast then popping up in Zoom-like squares. Kieran Culkin, is now a young man and has an announcement: he’s getting married to his longtime girlfriend, Rachel (Alexandra Shipp), a doctor on the front lines of the pandemic. When she appears from her hotel room where the hospital has medical staff under quarantine between shifts, Matty asks her to get married right then. She says yes. George is, of course, in shock, and has to be calmed down by Nina. In other words, nothing has changed. The two youngest members of the Banks family – Nina and George’s daughter, Megan (Florence Pugh), and Annie and Bryan’s son, Georgie (Ben Platt), are thrilled. So, too, is Rachel’s dad, James (Robert De Niro!). And who else to perform the wedding but Franck, beaming in from Tuscany, where Matty and Rachel had hoped to get married.
Meyers knows how to pluck those heart strings – in a good way. George (Martin) talks about the importance of family during these difficult times, something we are all feeling. At the end, Platt, a Tony Award-winning actor for his role in Dear Evan Hansen, melts hearts with a soulful rendition of “The Way You Look Tonight.” If you usually cry at weddings, you will here, too.
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World Central Kitchen
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