Father of the Bride: Part II

on December 08, 1995 by Kim Williamson
Shoemaker George Banks (Steve Martin) has barely grown comfortable fitting into his family's new domestic situation--daughter Annie (Kimberly Williams) was married off in the 1991 hit "Father of the Bride"--when he learns he's about to be a grandfather. In male-menopause fashion, George redoubles his husbandly ardor for his wife Nina (Diane Keaton), decides to sell the family home, darkens his hair into a "bitchin'" do, and tootles around town in his fire-red roadster. His new life of leisure hits an unexpected road bump, though, when Nina discovers she too is pregnant.
   With this Touchstone release, the filmmaking (and recently married) team of Charles Shyer and Nancy Meyers have doubled their audience's pleasure.
   Based on the Albert Hackett and Francis Goodrich script for 1951's "Father's Little Dividend" (Vincente Minnelli's followup to his 1950 original), "Father of the Bride Part II" provides the expected antics--Martin Short returns as the flamboyant Franck Egglehoffer, expensive party planner extraordinaire--but moviegoers envisioning two hours centered on George's discombobulation over high baby-shower expenses (much of "Father I" turned on George's exasperation over wedding costs) will be pleasantly surprised to see that plot here but covered in one sequence, leaving Shyer and Meyers more time to concentrate on their story's people and passions. Still, comedy is never far off. The filmmakers' easy-going-down approach here to humor is best captured in a scene in which George and Nina drive along a city boulevard; on George's side, the sidewalk is littered with misbehaving brats driving their dads witless; on Nina's, all is lovely between well-behaved children and their beautifically smiling moms. Made for a mainstream audience that will appreciate its insistence on having pleasant resolutions all 'round, this twice-as-good sequel rarely loses its stride. Back at the Mouse House, the pre-holiday word was that this "Father" sibling might challenge "Toy Story" in ultimate boxoffice take; although that's something of a stretch, it's easy to see why there's such pride of parentage. Starring Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Martin Short and Kimberly Williams. Directed by Charles Shyer. Produced by Nancy Meyers. Written by Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer. A Buena Vista release. Comedy. Rated PG for some mild language and thematic elements. Running time: 106 min
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