Mother of the Bride (1993) Review With RiffTrax

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Mother of the Bride (1993): 5 out of 10: “Mother of the Bride” (1993) follows the chaotic and humorous journey of the Hix family as they prepare for yet another wedding, this time for Anne (Anne Bobby), the youngest and wildest of the clan. Anne’s engagement to the cop who once pulled her over marks the start of a tumultuous period for her family.

Central to the story are Margret (Rue McClanahan) and John Hix (Ted Shackelford), along with Margret’s four children, including Dennis (now played by Brett Cullen). The unexpected reentry of Margret’s unreliable ex-husband, Richard (Paul Dooley), into their lives adds a layer of complexity. Richard, a notorious scoundrel, has been absent for years and reappears, only to cause more trouble.

Anne, with fewer memories of Richard, is willing to give him another chance, especially when he offers to pay for her wedding. However, Richard’s true colors shine through as he bounces checks and disrupts her fiancé’s bachelor party by bringing hookers. This behavior further alienates him from the family, who are well aware of his shortcomings.

Richard’s dramatic and comedic exit from the story triggers a series of emotional responses within the family, particularly from Andy (Conor O’Farrell) and Margret, who express their frustrations and grief in their own ways.

Amidst the chaos, Anne’s wedding plans are thrown into disarray due to Richard’s financial misconduct. She contemplates calling off the wedding, reverting to her previous dramatic tendencies. However, John, who has agreed to walk her down the aisle, intervenes with sage advice, encouraging her to prioritize her own happiness.

Meanwhile, Mary, one of Margret’s daughters, finds herself in an awkward subplot involving a forced flirtation with a persistent construction worker. His unwelcome advances and insistence on showing off his motorcycle add an element of cringe-worthy comedy to the film.

The Good

The Good: You know, at a certain point towards the end of the film, Ted Shackelford gets surprisingly wise and deep. He saves the wedding by telling his stepdaughter/ bride to be “The only retaliation you have is your own happiness.” among other wisdom. It was as if a more realistic, sensible film intersected the dimension that “Mother of the Bride” inhabited for a few moments only to go back to the cartoon land we were comfortably ensconced in.

Credit is where credit is due. While Paul Dooley as the deadbeat dad’s initial plot beat or two could not have been more predictable… They start to mix things up a bit (Dooley hires some hookers for the bachelor party) and then gloriously take a turn towards black humor. I don’t want to spoil it, but it is the kind of incident Netflix documentaries are made about. I half expected to have family members blame a wayward owl. And I am legitimately surprised there was no police investigation considering the circumstances.

The Bad

The Bad: Ted Shackelford and Rue McClanahan are still a ridiculous couple. This is not as big a problem since their relationship is not the centerpiece of the movie as it was in the previous “Baby of the Bride”. Not to mention that Ted is a much wiser and more amiable character this time around.

In fact, “Mother of the Bride” has solved a lot of the major problems with “Baby of the Bride”. The walls of the family home have been painted beige and some of the furniture from the formers Vincent Price collection has been replaced. The two sons are less irritating by simply being in the movie a lot less and, in at least one case, being played yet again by a different actor. (Dennis, now played by Brett Cullen. The third actor in as many films.)

But at the heart you still have three relationships that make no sense. The current couple being wed (The youngest daughter (Anne Bobby) and the cop) is the most solid of the three but as Mary Jo Pehl and Bridget Nelson point out in the RiffTrax commentary please point out one thing that would attract him to her? I mean, she has been married twice, her family is on full display, she seems unemployed/ flakey, and her fashion sense is a cry for help.

And as ridiculous as Ted Shackelford and Rue McClanahan are, they are at least compatible this time around. Even if Rue still looks like his mother.

The Ugly

The Ugly: Kristy McNichol, whom you may recall from the previous movie, is a nun named Mary who became pregnant. She is hit rather crudely on by a construction worker who rides a motorcycle and is an incredibly offputting jerk. So they hit it off as he gets her to let her hair down (Theoretically, of course, as Kristie’s men need not apply non-nonsense helmet hair is not going anywhere.)

He, on the other hand, looks like Chris Noth with inexplicably long hair. He hates rice burners and his entire personality seems to be his motorcycle.

Now you may think okay, he is a jerk, but our virgin nun is well horny. Expect McNichol is clearly a lesbian. From the way she dresses and acts to her fashion sense and haircut. Not to mention her backstory as a nun who wanted a child but not a husband. She couldn’t be more obviously a lesbian if she met him at Lilith Fair rather than the kids’ daycare. (He doesn’t have a kid himself. He is the handyman. Yeah, a real catch there.) So we have a tepid romance between a guy who may be a horrible jerk but certainly can do better than a lesbian single mother.

Oh, and he turns out to be secretly married to a fashion model… Yeah, he is a winner all the way around.

In Conclusion

In Conclusion: “Mother of the Bride” is an improvement over “Baby of the Bride” but this is still really damning with faint praise. These movies don’t work, but I give Mother of the Bride credit to be willing to go to places unexpected. It surprised me and for that I can give this one a golf clap.

RiffTrax Version

RiffTrax Version: 8 out of 10: Bridget Nelson and Mary Jo Pehl have some banger lines throughout the film. More importantly, they clearly seem to enjoy themselves while watching the film. “Mother of the Bride” is less appalling than “Baby of the Bride” despite the hookers and a clear cut murder in the middle of the film. Even with the family clearly getting away with murder scot free, it is a much more lighthearted story overall.

While I think the better home furnishings help reduce the level of horror seen in “Baby of the Bride” I miss Brigit and Mary Jo’s honest horror when a flowered davenport or gold wallpaper appeared on screen. Still, we have a wedding and a Bridezilla this time around. And nothing like a wedding to bring out the best in Bridget Nelson and Mary Jo Pehl.

Going from this to Kristy McNichol is a choice.
Anne Bobby is a cutie. I loved her in 1990’s Nightbreed and I like her here. All that said this blouse is doing her no favors.
Is it me or is this bridal mannequin a little masculine?
Paul Dooley showing up with to the bachelor party with “strippers”. I wonder if they work at the same joint Rue McClanahan used to dance at?
 In 2012, McNichol ended years of speculation when she revealed that she is a lesbian and has lived with her partner Martie Allen since the early 1990s.
There is an in universe explanation for this I promise.
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