Reviewed by: John Dickerson
Babies… a blessing or a burden? That’s part of the quandary in this light-hearted, often very funny sequel to the 1991 remake starring Steve Martin as the anxious title character (George Banks). After struggling to see his only daughter leave the nest in the first film, this frantic father finds himself not only a soon-to-be grandfather but also, much to his surprise, husband of a newly expectant mother (Diane Keaton).
The issues of our own mortality and inevitable aging are dealt with comically as George wrestles with the idea of being a grandfather in this youth-oriented culture. Much to the film’s credit, George’s attempts to feel young do not include the typical “fling” with another woman. In fact, this faithful father is steadfast in devotion to his loving and patient wife, even boldly pointing to his wedding ring in fleeing the temptations of a passing seductress. Likewise, after initial doubts and anger at the prospect of having a child later in life (and thereby foregoing some of the fun and “freedom” he had planned for the “empty nest” years), George eventually works past his own selfishness to the point of seeing this unexpected blessing as just that. Again, the film admirably goes against the flow of typical Hollywood values by never even mentioning birth control or abortion as a means of dealing with such a situation.
“Father of the Bride II” includes no violence or extra-marital sex. George and his wife are shown embracing immediately before and after some spontaneous intimacy (not seen). The outrageous party planners and interior decorators (Martin Short and B.D. Wong), also featured in the first film, display some effeminate tendencies, but they are never clearly defined as being homosexual. Profanities are limited to a few subtle blasphemies (“Oh, God” and/or “My God”). Also contrary to Biblical role models, the film’s young bride rebels against and is not encouraged to submit to her husband’s wishes to decline a job promotion and transfer.
While “Father of the Bride II” comes up short in the “faith” department, for a nineties film, it is overall quite remarkable in portraying such godly values as fidelity, family and friendship in a very fun and upbeat way.