Son of the Bride: Libio Pensavalle
Owen Gleiberman
March 27, 2002 AT 05:00 AM EST

Son of the Bride

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
124 minutes
Limited Release Date
04/12/02
performer
Norma Alejandro, Hector Alterio, Ricardo Darin, Eduardo Blanco, Natalia Verbeke
director
Juan Jose Campanella
distributor
Sony Pictures Classics
author
Juan Jose Campanella, Fernando Castets
genre
Drama

We gave it an B-

This light-fingered Argentinean drama, which was one of the recent Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language Film, offers a quieter version of the midlife-crisis roller coaster. Rafael (Ricardo Darín), a devoted restaurateur, has a sexy, adoring girlfriend (Natalia Verbeke) as well as a beguiling daughter from a failed marriage. But he’s also an arrogant narcissist with no time for anyone. Naturally, fate intervenes. He suffers a minor heart attack, and one of his childhood friends shows up; the pal (Eduardo Blanco) has become a life-affirming bozo who looks and acts like a penny-ante Roberto Benigni. Finally, there’s Rafael’s mother (Norma Aleandro), who is drifting into the fog of Alzheimer’s. To buoy the situation, his father decides to ”marry” her again. Son of the Bride has an appealing modesty, but director Juan José Campanella works so hard to keep everything soft and winsome and charming that he cushions the understatement into blandness.

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