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Film / Father of the Bride (1991)

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Father of the Bride is a 1991 comedy film directed by Charles Shyer. It is a remake of a 1950 film of the same title.

Steve Martin and Diane Keaton star as George and Nina Banks (no, not THAT George Banks), whose daughter Annie (Kimberly Williams Paisley) is about to get married to Bryan MacKenzie (George Newbern). While her rather skinflint Bumbling Dad nearly has an aneurysm about the costs of the wedding, he realises slowly that Annie has grown up and is leaving him. Yes, it sounds cliché, but the film has many warm and funny moments.

Followed by the 1995 sequel Father of the Bride Part II, in which Annie gets pregnant, triggering a mid-life crisis in George that ultimately ends up getting Nina pregnant too.


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This film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Elderly Mother: In Part II, George is worried enough that his daughter is having a baby, but after mishaps like selling the house, now he's getting more stressed that his wife Nina, who thought that she was entering menopause, is also pregnant.
  • Always a Child to Parent: Annie first appears as a little girl. Then she announces her engagement and we realize that she's fully grown and we have been seeing her as George sees her.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Franck Egglehoffer and assistant Howard Weinstein are both foppish and campy. They enjoy the wedding prep as much as the brides themselves.
  • Artifact Title: In the sequel, George's daughter is already married and thus he's no longer the "father of the bride".
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Averted at first in Part II; Nina reacts badly when George jokes around at them being parents at their age and Annie reacts badly when she learns she and her mother will be pregnant at the same time. Then it's played straight once they actually give birth.
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  • Bumbling Dad: Both George and Bryan's dad, John, stumble through the wedding and pregnancy without much idea of what to do.
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant!/Law of Inverse Fertility: Nina in Part II, who thought she was going through menopause.
  • The Cameo: Eugene Levy (of SCTV and American Pie fame) plays the wedding singer in the first film and an Arabic real estate mogul in the sequel. Also in the sequel is noted game-show producer Jay Wolpert, as a doctor.
  • The Chew Toy: It's impressive how much pain George goes through.
  • Comedic Sociopathy : A lot of somewhat cruel sequences in this film are just played for laughs, like the pool sequence in the first film and the scene with the house being demolished in Part II.
  • Cool Car: George's sports car, which gets him a little attention in Part II. Also, Annie and Bryan's car, which was a wedding present from his parents.
  • Daddy's Girl: Annie, and it is implied at the end of Part II that Megan will fill that role once Annie leaves for Boston. In the first film, we even see Annie as she appears to her dad, a cute little girl in pigtails.
    • This quote sums up this trope:
    George: You have a little girl. An adorable little girl who looks up to you and adores you in a way you could never imagine. I remember how her little hand used to fit inside mine. How she used to sit in my lap and lean her head against my chest. She said that I was her hero.
  • Don't You Like It?: Brian gives Annie a blender — she breaks off the engagement.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: Annie's wedding gown is a Pimped-Out Dress with lots of skirt and plenty of lace.
  • Framing Device: Both movies start out in the present day before flashing back over several months, then catching up to the present.
  • Funny Foreigner: Roger Ebert described Franck's accent as "part central European and part nasal congestion". The "nasal congestion" part could also go well for his assistant, Howard Weinstein.
  • How We Got Here: The first movie begins after the wedding is over, then backtracks five months when "the storm broke". The second one begins with George sitting in his living room, and again backtracked over several months. Once the story is concluded, we realize he's been telling us all this while waiting for Bryan and Annie to arrive before they move cross-country.
  • Love at First Sight: It is strongly implied that this is what happened with Annie and Bryan because Annie's story of how they met is very short.
  • Mythology Gag: The ugly wedding present that nobody likes—the Venus de Milo clock—is the same one that was used in the 1950 film for the same joke.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The sequel is titled Father of the Bride Part II, but no one's getting married.
  • Not So Different: Following Bryan and Annie's fight, George realizes,"Annie was just like me and Bryan was just like Nina. They were perfect for each other."
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: A slight case with George, as despite Brian being a dream of a son-in-law, a few lines from George in the sequel indicates that he inexplicably still dislikes him.
  • Only Sane Man: George flirts with this at points in the first movie, as the wedding plans grow increasingly elaborate and expensive. He definitely sees himself as this, at any rate.
  • Opening Monologue: George follows this into his role as Narrator.
  • Overprotective Dad
    George: What can I say? I'm a father. Worrying comes with the territory.
    • To the point where in the sequel, he views the announcement of Annie's pregnancy as Brian—her husband—having unscrupulously seduced her. He also flips out at how young Annie's doctor is.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: This is how George reacts when Annie announced her engagement.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: George's hot-dog rant is basically a PG version of Martin's infamous rant from Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
    George: I'll tell you what I'm doing. I want to buy eight hot dogs and eight hot dog buns to go with them. But no one sells eight hot dog buns. They only sell twelve hot dog buns. So I end up paying for four buns I don't need. So I am removing the superfluous buns. Yeah. And you want to know why? Because some big-shot over at the wiener company got together with some big-shot over at the bun company and decided to rip off the American public. Because they think the American public is a bunch of trusting nit-wits who will pay for everything they don't need rather than make a stink. Well they're not ripping of this nitwit any more because I'm not paying for one more thing I don't need. George Banks is saying NO!
  • Remake Cameo: Tom Irish, who plays the bride's brother in the 1950 movie, appears in this one as a guest at the wedding.
  • She Is All Grown Up: George hadn't realized Annie grown up until she announced her engagement. He still sees her as a little girl with her hair in pigtails. Him coming to terms with this fact is part of the movie's conflict.
    • He gets hit with this again in the sequel, when Annie's pregnancy forces him to realize this once and for all.
  • Shout-Out: The clock that Annie is given that looks like Michelangelo's David was also a gift in the original film.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: This is what Annie thinks Bryan expects of her in their marriage when he gives her a blender as a wedding present. In truth he was thinking more along the lines of "one of us might want to blend something at some point in the future".
  • Tacky Tuxedo: As George learns to his chagrin, Armani doesn't make a navy tux.
  • Time-Compression Montage: There's two of these in the first movie. The first one shows the months leading up to the wedding and the second one shows a much longer period of time where Annie is growing up.


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