My Sister's Wedding
Though a bit sitcom-y, this comedy reaches for the heartstrings as a woman tries to balance nuptials, parental strife and her own desire to quit the family business, all on the same day.
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“My Sister’s Wedding” is sort of a movie version of a sitcom. It’s a fast-paced comedy with lots of zingers, a few pratfalls and characters who just can’t help sniping at each other — especially if they’re family.
As you might guess from the title, the film written and directed by Kenneth R. Frank is centered around Allison (a charming Samantha Sayah), a twentysomething woman who’s the rock of Gibraltar in a family full of nervous nellies and nitwits. The story all takes place on the same day when her sister is scheduled to be married at a small private ceremony at the clan’s home.
They are well-to-do in the real estate business, and Allison has been running most of the day-to-day for her dad, Al (Brian Donahue), a well-meaning but collassally egocentric fellow. (“There’s only two kinds of people in this world,” he bellows. “Me and everybody else!”) She’s planning to tell her father that she wants to quit the family business and become a school teacher and coach.
Unfortunately, Tina (Lauren A. Kennedy) decides that she is also planning to walk away from the biz and move out West with her soon-to-be-wife, Aaliyah (Samanthia Nixon). What’s more, she hornswoggles Allison into being the one to tell their father that very same day.
Layer in several other ongoing familial squabbles, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Oldest daughter Sabrina (Shawna Brandle), married to a dentist, Mark (Kirk Gostkowski), a nebbishy type who’s become the family punching bag, has some big life moves up her own sleeve.
And Al and their mother, Olivia (Jennifer Jiles), have been separated for 15 years but never divorced owing to his Catholic faith. They pick up their old nitpicking and one-upmanship right where they left off from the get-go.
(This movie is not to be confused with a 2013 film of the same title.)
Al has the unfortunate habit of always trying to stack the deck in his ongoing feud with Olivia. He keeps inviting “extra” guests to somehow “win” the wedding. This includes the family priest, Father Carmine (Frank Failla), who makes full use of the wedding provisions, and Derek (Isreal McKinney Scott), Al’s lawyer and friend, who tells him it really would be best if he and Olivia went ahead and divorced — even going so far as to bring the legal papers with him to the wedding.
From all this, you can pretty well guess where things head: lots of bickering and fighting, a few emotional interruptions and lots of jokey confrontations.
Sayah holds it all together as the even-keeled kid, the one who feels like she’s been doing all the emotion labor for the family and is ready to find her own place — both geographically and in her headspace.
The best scenes are between here and Donahue, generating genuine father-daughter rapport. Donahue has a particular way of talking that I was finally able to place: his speech pattern is just like Jay Leno’s. They’ve got solid comedic timing in their back-and-forth snappy patter.
“Jesus, Dad, you’ve picked a terrible moment to gain clarity,” Allison admonishes in one of the bigger laugh lines.
“My Sister’s Wedding” is definitely a low-budget affair and some of the line readings come off a bit amateurish, but the cast and crew acquit themselves well enough and bring a hearty energy to the proceedings. It’s the family that can’t stop fighting, and for entertainment’s sake we sure hope they don’t.
“My Sister’s Wedding” is currently playing the festival circuit in hopes of picking up distribution.