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Originally published Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 3:01 PM

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Movie review

'Our Family Wedding' invites a few laughs

A review of "Our Family Wedding," starring America Ferrera and Lance Gross as (slightly) star-crossed lovers.

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review 2.5 stars

'Our Family Wedding,' with Forest Whitaker, America Ferrera, Carlos Mencia, Regina King, Lance Gross, Diana Maria Riva. Directed by Rick Famuyiwa, from a screenplay by Wayne Conley, Malcolm Spellman and Famuyiwa. 103 minutes. Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and brief strong language. Several theaters.

In Rick Famuyiwa's "Our Family Wedding," the obstacles pile up like prettily bow-tied presents on a gift table. Lucia (America Ferrera, of TV's "Ugly Betty") and Marcus (Lance Gross), a bright, attractive and charming young couple, are in love and want to get married. But ... she's Hispanic and he's African American, which will surprise their respective families — guess who's coming to dinner? And she's just dropped out of law school, and hasn't told her parents. And they're living together, ditto. And, when they finally travel from the East Coast to Los Angeles to meet the families, they learn that their fathers (Carlos Mencia and Forest Whitaker, respectively) have already met — her dad towed his dad's illegally parked car — and really, really hate each other.

Anyone who wonders whether those crazy kids will make it to the altar has a) never seen a romantic comedy, and b) hasn't seen the movie poster, which features Ferrara and Gross cutely beaming in their wedding attire. Writer/director Rick Famuyiwa ("The Wood") knows that he's working with pretty predictable stuff here, so he keeps the movie busy with subplots: Marcus' father's longtime friendship/romance with his lawyer (Regina King); a midlife crisis suffered by Lucia's mother (Diana Maria Riva); and a running gag involving a very modern bathroom, a goat and some Viagra, which is at least a combination of elements I haven't seen before.

Though the fathers occasionally sling a few mild racial slurs at each other, "Our Family Wedding" is far too good-natured a film to get into serious conflict; we never doubt that everything will sort itself out nicely and everyone will be happily dancing at a gala bicultural wedding. (Except for that goat, whose fate is left to the imagination.) And the likable cast keep things watchable, particularly handsome Gross, who is surely destined for bigger things, and Ferrera, who's still as sweetly unaffected on-screen as she was back in "Real Women Have Curves." These two make us believe they belong together, and, for this kind of movie, that's just enough.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

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