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Film / Son of the Bride

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Son of the Bride is a 2001 film from Argentina directed by Juan Jose Campanella.

Rafael is a 42-year-old man going through a mid-life crisis. One might wonder why the heck he's having a crisis, since he's a successful restaurateur with a ridiculously sexy, fun, mid-20s girlfriend named Nati. But the restaurant game is a high-stress business that ruined his marriage (he's three years divorced from ex-wife Sandra) and leaves him little time to spend with their daughter Vicki, who is about ten. Far worse, his mother Norma is in an old folks' home with advanced Alzheimer's disease. Rafael hasn't gone to see her in a year, something he feels very guilty about.

Rafael is stressed out by declining profit margins at his restaurant, and is grudgingly considering selling it to a corporation. He's thrown a curveball when his father Nino tells him that he wants to give Norma the church wedding she always wanted, and wants Rafael to help him pay for it—an idea that Rafael doesn't support, given Norma's mental decline. Stress and guilt lead to Rafael suffering a heart attack. He survives, but the brush with death leads him to a decision: he will "drop the fuck out" and leave the rat race behind.



  • Age Cut: The intro scene of Rafael and Juan Carlos as kids ends with a closeup of Rafael's eyes as he looks at a picture of his mom. Cut thirty-odd years to a closeup of Rafael's eyes as he stares blearily at a TV.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Rafael comes to Nati's apartment building and, through the gate buzzer security cam, tells her how he had it all wrong. He wanted to get headaches and problems out of his life but he was really talking about headaches and problems related to bills and food suppliers, and that he actually does want to take on her problems and build a life with her. It ends only when she rushes out the door and kisses him.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Nati's gate buzzer clicks on and we see through the security cam Rafael making his Anguished Declaration of Love. The scene ends with the security cam showing Nati appearing outside and jumping into Rafael's arms for The Big Damn Kiss.
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  • Buxom Is Better: Juan Carlos is very impressed with his old friend's girl, marveling "What a set of knockers!"
  • Call-Back: The opening scene, with Rafael and Juan Carlos as kids, ends with Rafael's mom offering them cookies. When Juan Carlos appears as a priest for the faux wedding, Nora apparently recognizes him through the fog of Alzheimer's and offers him some butter cookies. Juan Carlos nearly breaks down in tears.
  • Creator Cameo: Director Juan Campanella is the doctor who treats Rafael after his heart attack.
  • Fan Disservice: The usual hospital gown gag, where Rafael turns and we get a look at his pasty white butt.
  • Freeze-Frame Ending: Juan Carlos is taking a picture of Nora, Nino, and Rafael, after the wedding. Nora, unsure of what is going on, is frowning, but Rafael coaxes a smile out of her. Juan Carlos snaps a picture, and that is the freeze-frame ending.
  • Funny Background Event: Juan Carlos has taken Rafael with him to be an extra on a movie set. While cameras are rolling on the Film Within a Film, Juan Carlos takes that inopportune moment to tell Rafael that he, Juan Carlos, is in love with Nati. As the director's camera shows an actor in the foreground quoting a soliloquy from Hamlet, we see Rafael and Juan Carlos in the background entering the screen fighting. The director has to yell "cut".
  • Gag Penis: We don't see it, but it turns out that Dick Watson is a porn star with a gigantic wang. Or at least that's what Juan Carlos and Paul say when they watch one of his videos.
    "It's like a baby's leg!"
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Rafael is sitting on the couch when he starts breathing heavily and feeling distress. He calls for Nati and tries to get up but crumples down to the carpet.
  • Hospital Gurney Scene: Combined with P.O.V. Cam as we see the shot from Rafael's POV when he's whisked into the ICU on a gurney.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The first scene shows Rafael and Carlos as kids playing Zorro and antagonizing some older kids. Then the time skips forward 30 years or so to the main story.
  • Moment of Lucidity: A heartbreaking moment has Nora pause her nonsense muttering to say, clearly and distinctively, "I don't want to die. I know I am not well." Then she drops back into her fog.
  • Romantic Rain: Subverted. Rafael, seeking to make amends, meets Nati in the pouring rain outside her apartment building with a bouquet of roses...but she screams, calls him a mugger, and runs inside while a bystander grabs Rafael. The Big Damn Kiss doesn't come until later, when she meets him in the foyer of the building.
  • Running Gag: Nati scoffs at Rafael's discontent and his desire for "freedom", saying that he isn't Einstein, he isn't Bill Gates, and he isn't "Dick Watson". A confused Rafael asks who Dick Watson is. Later Sandra says that her new boyfriend is "a Dick Watson" and Rafael is once again wondering who Dick Watson is. The Stinger reveals that Dick Watson is a porn star with a Gag Penis.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: A tragic example in the person of Norma, but also sometimes darkly funny. She offers a teddy bear to a boy in the restaurant, the boy recoils, and Norma says "Fuck you!".
  • Shout-Out
    • Rafael and Juan Carlos wonder if Maxwell Smart married Agent 99. (He did.)
    • In the scene where Rafael and Juan Carlos are extras on a movie shoot, the lead actor in the movie quotes the "To be or not to be" monologue from Hamlet (in Spanish translation).
    • Rafael asks his dad for a suggestion for the new name of the restaurant. Nino grins and says "Lollobrigida", then pauses and says "Don't tell mom."
  • The Stinger: The mystery of Dick Watson is revealed in a mid-credits scene where Rafael and Juan Carlos watch a porno starring Dick Watson, who has a huge wiener.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: A workaholic Rafael has grown distant from his daughter Vicki, who is reluctant to go with him for their regular Thursday night visit.