Watched, Read, loved: March 2017

March2017

Here is my monthly rundown of what I was up to the previous month. Right now it is still pretty much only addressing entertainment, but I hope to add some more life things into it soon too. Please feel free to comment below if you’ve seen any of these, or just to say hi!

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Southpaw (2015) – I love a good sport movie. Even though they are all pretty much the same story, I’m always caught up. It was no less with Southpaw, and even though Jake Gyllenhaal irrationally annoyed the shit out of me, I really enjoyed this one.

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Letters to Juliet (2010) – Amanda Seyfried delivers another charming performance. Objectively I know this isn’t a strong film, but it is so feel good I actually couldn’t care less about ratings. It is foolishly optimistic and cheerful, and a great film to watch if you are feeling down.

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The Wedding Singer (1998) – The 90’s atmosphere, combined with a surprisingly affable Adam Sandler and an adorable Drew Barrymore, I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Definitely one of the best Adam Sandler films I’ve ever seen.

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My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997) – I HATED the ending and I really disliked the main character. What a stupid movie.

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Enchanted (2007): This spectacular Disney production made me so happy when I watched it again. It is on a grand scale and very elaborate and so lovely to look at.

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Underworld (2003), Evolution (2006), Rise of the Lycans (2009), and Awakening (2012)

After years of ignorance I am finally familiarizing myself with this franchise. I had a great time with all these movies. Seline is such a strong female character and saves herself and her love more than once, and the feminist in me was cheering all the way.

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Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Continuing on this journey to watch more romantic films that are seen as classics, I got to see this. It was… okay. Hugh Grant really was quite the adorable English actor in his prime, and it is easy for him to be quietly charming. Andie McDowell also had no clue how to act. I’m not sure if she’s ever had a clue in that regard, but it really is prominent here.

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The Lucky One (2012)

The Lucky One  is not by any means the worst Nicholas Sparks film – Best of Me still holds that title – but what is most notable is the awful acting. Taylor Schilling and Zac Efron just don’t gel together. I’m forced to ask whether Zac Efron actually has a brain – there is nothing shining behind those pretty blue eyes. Sure, he’s cute and ripped, but his attempt at a tortured marine invoked less sympathy than concern about synapses firing at an appropriate rate. Schilling, yeah, also pretty bad. They also have zero chemistry and the scenes looked stage and neither actor really wanted their hands on each other. Okay, I’m done. But sheesh.

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Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Kong: Skull Island is what it was supposed to be: a nice action packed adventure with a handsome cast and a big gorilla. Ticked all the boxes for me, excellent popcorn entertainment.

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Power Rangers (2017)

I had not planned going to cinema for this. I would have preferred John Wick, but I was sorely outvoted by a bunch of 30 year old men who wanted to watch Power Rangers. There is something to be said for nostalgia. I ended up having a decent enough time – I  was unaware up until this point that Power Rangers could be made into something that resembles a non-cheesy film. I’m still shocked.

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The Guardians Trilogy by Nora Roberts: Stars of Fortune, Bay of Sighs and Island of Glass

I read these three books in the span of two weeks and I don’t regret one second of it. It is the most fun I’ve had in ages with Nora Roberts’ fantasy work.

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Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince (JK Rowling)

The penultimate book in the best series to have ever been written is overshadowed in intensity only by the last book. Half Blood Prince is consistently one of my favorites. It features the more mature trio, naturally Dumbeldore’s death and the discovery of the reason behind Voldemort’s apparent immortality.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling)

Horace Slughorn returning to the castle to fight, Snape’s secret, Fred dying, Lupin and Tonks, Colin Creevy being tiny in death, Kreacher’s bullfrog voice, Dobby’s death, Hagrid throwing MacNair, Molly vs. Bellatrix– the last hundred pages of this book is nonstop goosebumps. I get tears in my eyes every time. Every. Single. Time. Deathly Hallows binds every single event that occurred in Potter from the very first page of The Philosopher’s Stone to the very last page of Deathly Hallows in a neat bow. This is truly the best thought out work I’ve ever read by an author.

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Angel’s Fall (Nora Roberts)

I really enjoy reading through my Nora collection at least once a year. Right now I’m with Reece and Brody, and I particularly enjoy the book – I like both main characters, the setting, the plot and development of said plot.

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Movie Review: Shall We Dance? (2004)

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Plot:

A romantic comedy where a bored, overworked Estate Lawyer, upon first sight of a beautiful instructor, signs up for ballroom dancing lessons.

Rating: 6.5/10

Shall We Dance was quite a surprise to me. I was ready to go on a rampage if it turned into a film that tried to justify an older man cheating on his perfectly nice wife. It seemed inevitable when John Clark joined a dancing studio because of the lovely Paulina (Jennifer Lopez) staring out into the night dramatically every time John’s bus drove past the studio where she worked. He is warned early on that Paulina has a broken heart and a dented ego and that she’s really talented. He tries to connect as he feels the need to be involved in some stranger’s personal business. Luckily she tells him where to get off and that she’s on to his shit. The movie steers in another direction then at least, with John (Richard Gere) learning to love the new skill he’s acquiring. His busy wife is alerted by their daughter that John is happier and acting very twinkle toes suddenly. She gets PI Devine (Richard Jenkins) to investigate and he delivers the real story – John is dancing, but not cheating. Through a whole lot of escalation and dance competitions, John eventually finds himself with a wife whose feelings have been hurt because he hid so much of what makes him happy in the past few months from her.

What I liked?

The cast is charming. Richard Gere is as classically handsome as always, Susan Sarandon is as always beautiful and talented, and Stanley Tucci provides a whole lot of funny moments and impressed me with his comedic ability. The same can be said for Lisa Ann Walter, who plays the really honest and abrasive Bobbie. I liked her attitude and while she could be harsh, I really enjoyed the character. I also really thought Bobby Cannavale and Omar Benson Miller had some great moments as John’s classmates Chic and Vern.

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How Shall We Dance concluded. As I mentioned, I was sure this film would be a justification of cheating episode and I don’t have time for that. It turned out differently than expected and I am grateful for that.

The dancing was a whole lot of fun. I really enjoy dancing movies a whole lot even if they have questionable plot lines.

The pace of the movie is well executed and didn’t drag out for ages.

Stanley Tucci’s role as Link was quite funny and had some gentle reminders in that straight men are also able to be dancers and entertainers, and that society generally gives them a really hard time. His whole costume of wigs and false teeth entertained me to no end and some of the funniest moments on screen come from him.

What I didn’t like:

Jennifer Lopez can dance, she can sing, she can be Jenny from the Block, but what she is unable to do is act. I was left as uninspired as usual by her. No real emotion or even a hint of conviction in her character, all she has to rely on is her dance moves and girly voice to complete the role as Paulina. I’m not even sure why she is on the DVD cover as there were a ton of characters that deserved to be on it rather.

I enjoyed Shall We Dance. It is a reminder that life doesn’t have to be over after a certain age and that you can still experience new things. It is also to a lesser degree a film about being yourself and owning what you believe in. It also contains Richard Gere, one of the most handsome older men still alive. For a romantic drama, Shall We Dance fails to annoy and is enjoyable to sit through, which is as much as you can generally expect from these type of films.

Have you seen this? Tell me in the comment section 🙂

Watched, Read, Loved: February 2017

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February being so short is all fun and games (particularly since payday is closer for a lot of people) but then suddenly you are in March and I don’t know about you, but I’m really like where the actual f is this year going? February was rather quiet compared to January’s movie intake, which I will blame on the shortness of the month and the fact that I got hooked on Daredevil, which certainly took up the majority of time I would usually have spent watching movies. But do you see me complaining? Nope. It changed my life, the show is THAT good.

On a personal note the start of February was rather sad. I kept thinking whether I should do some sort of separate posting about it, but decided against it as it seemed too morbid to post exclusively about death. One of my oldest friends committed suicide late January, and her birthday was on the same date as my father’s, who would have been sixty this year. In the past the weekend close to the 2nd of February would have usually been a massive amount of party juggling is now only a sad remembrance of two amazing people, and that is really just very sad to deal with.

Furthermore work was also a little crazy. I received a job offer and went through all the hoops to get a formal proposal. I ultimately decided to stay with my current company, a decision which I question daily. The pros and cons kept me awake for nights on end, and while I’m mostly happy with my decision the thought of a few things still make me wonder. It is not always easy here, but I have realized that the field I am in is rarely easy, so if I truly want to change I will do so after my degree and rather just change careers completely.

On the Tinder and dating saga: February is the month of Lurveeeee. I am very much past the point where Valentines actually holds meaning to me. I hate to be on the overly-negative-bandwagon, but it is a commercialized chaos and I am very uninterested in furthering every shop in town’s agenda. I just realized that I really have so much to say about this that I should do another Tinder and dating post. It has been a merry ride with asthma attacks during dates, single events, people who actually use the term hella cool and people who seem to think I’m dumb and don’t have basic knowledge of things.

Looking at everything I just wrote on there I am not surprised I didn’t reach my January high of movies. Here they are below, let me know what you’ve been up to as well in the comment section!

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Movies:

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016): 8.5/10

I started February off with a bang and finally got to Hunt for The Wilderpeople. I reviewed it already because I loved it too much to keep it contained for too long. It is really far out of the type of movie I would usually choose to watch. This actually can’t be classified to a genre. Full of quips, this film is designed to warm your heart and make you think long and hard about the sanity of New Zealanders.

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The BFG (2016): 6/10

Wow, I really get why people didn’t like this! Long and overindulgent. Ugh.

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Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince(2009): 6.5/10

Can a movie ever really do justice to the book it was created from? The answer is always no unless it is Lord of The Rings. I’m not sure whether I’ll even do a review for this. I had it in my head to do a series at one stage, so maybe I will just write it up and get to it one day in the distant future.

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Shall We Dance? (2004):6.5/10

I watched this with my mom, and we both enjoyed it. It is mostly about an old man finding his groove again, and I liked it by the end. It is also not about cheating and I was very suspicious about that, which made me pleased in the end.

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Notting Hill (1999): 6.5/10

I apparently really like the 6.5/10 rating. It seems like a fair score if I liked it but it wasn’t amazing. Notting Hill is a passable film but it isn’t my favorite in the genre. I still think Julia Roberts is one of the most beautiful women to have ever worked in Hollywood.

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How to Be Single (2015): 6.5/10

This is a second watch for me. I really like a number of things about this movie – Rebel Wilson and Dakota Fanning do great work together. Dakota Fanning is a really talented lady, so I hope she does more work other than that BDSM crap. The message of this film is also really important.

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Books:

The Power of Six (Pittacus Lore)

Not sure if I should even list it on here as I read the last twenty pages in February, but there you go. It was quite enjoyable although it certainly wasn’t as captivating as the first book.

After You (JoJoMoyes)

After Me Before You, the touching book and the slightly less touching film, After You comes along. Lou is dealing with her grief, her inability to convey to strangers how she loved a man so quickly and powerfully in only six months and the judgment of every ass available. It is written in typical JoJoMoyes style and so far it is really enjoyable although I can’t see how she will reach the emotional highs of her first book.

Tribute – Nora Roberts

I enjoy Tribute on a loop every year at least. All I know from reading this book again is I want a Spock.

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling

Everything. This book is everything. It makes me so happy and content. It is such an important book in the series, and there are scenes in there that fills my heart up with so much happiness and light.

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Series:

X-files Season 2 – I’m a bit at a snag right now with X-Files. I enjoy it but it is so procedural I can drop and pick up without too many holes in the conversation.

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Daredevil Season 1 and 2 – I’ve been postponing this for ages now. WHY? It is amazing. It is 10 000% better than that awful Jessica Jones BS I subjected myself too. Charlie Cox as Daredevil is AMAZING. That introduction.The tone of the series.The action.The simple badassery. I am so involved in this. WOW. I will post both reviews and JJ soon, and you will see the remarkable difference.

What have you been up to this month?

FTF: Five Favorite Films about Weddings

Happy Friday! It’s been yonks since I fired up this bad boy. Five things Friday started way back (I think probably 2013), and I’ve done a few here and there. I’d like to do some more in the future – I love lists so much, and let’s face it, they are so easy to put together! Today’s feature is about the age old institutional – tying the knot. There are so many movies focusing on weddings that it should probably be an entire genre on its’ own. There are so many! I’ve seen a ton, but I’ve never hidden the fact that I am able to enjoy the most gory and the most fluffy films equally as much:)

Let me know about your favorite in the comments section!

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5: Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement

Number 5 on this list was hotly contested, let me tell you. I ended up choosing The Royal Engagement because I’m such a huge fan of the Princess Diaries. It deviated quite badly from the books, but it managed to be pretty good. Anne Hathaway, Chris Pine and Julie Andrews are a power team in TRE, and the message is a bit lame but also strong – don’t marry for the wrong reasons (something that wasn’t already obvious), and what might seem as the best choice for you probably isn’t what you really want.

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4: Wedding Crashers

Can this film make the list? It isn’t about weddings in the way the other films here are about weddings, but it definitely deals with them. This movie is the top point of silly and has some hilarious moments. It is one of the few films where combining Vince Vaughn and Isla Fischer works, and I wouldn’t have thought it possible to combine two such horribly annoying people and get a proper result. The film also stars Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Christopher Walken, and those three alone can probably carry any film without too much effort.

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3: 27 Dresses (2008)

I actually smashed this movie in the review here. I do enjoy it though, and am frequently worried that I first have to be a bridesmaid 27 times before I get to put on a white dress. Anway, remember that Tinder post I put up? Still getting feedback from it which is great! Back to why I chose this as a favourite – it is about a girl that loves weddings and finds that her partner isn’t what she always expected her spouse to end up as.

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2: Runaway Bride (1999)

EEK! I love this movie. The only movie about weddings that could possibly be even more favoured than Runaway Bride is the one listed below. Julia Roberts has always been my girl crush. She’s so beautiful and smiley and talented. I loved Maggie Carpenter’s spirit and love for family and independence. Her matching with Richard Gere always results in chemistry and us wondering why they never made babies together. This film is all about identity and finding yourself before you end up with a partner – quite ahead of its’ time!

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1: The Princess Bride (1987)

❤ Is there more to say? This film is everything – Buttercup and Westley and their escape and love story ❤

Honorable mentions:

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Mamma Mia (2008)

When asked whether Pierce Brosnan can sing I would immediately think that he’s placed shortly under Rebecca Black for artistic capabilities. However, that didn’t stop him or Colin Firth going at it. This movie is definitely not for everyone. It is firstly a musical. Some of Abba’s most iconic songs get somewhat butchered (okay, a lot), and I’m sure I saw this listed as one of the films that make most heterosexual males feel suicidal. However, if you are game for watching Meryl Streep clearly having the time of her life, pondering why exactly Pierce Brosnan has such piercing blue eyes (he) and just want to watch people dancing and singing about love, this film is definitely something you can watch.

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The Five-Year engagement (2012)

I do remember this – it is Emily Blunt and Jason Segel and they are engaged for ages and end up wondering if it is worth it. I actually think long engagements are silly – its’ that thing if the guy is committed you don’t need to worry and I assure you, most modern relationships have enough things going on without having to make it seem more official. This movie didn’t suck at all, and although I can barely remember it, I think I enjoyed it at the time.

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Bride Wars (2013)

Despite this film rather pissing me off every time I watch it, I always end up watching it quite often. It is the most stereotypical of the lot, and perpetuates the notion that women turn into Godzillas the moment they get engaged. Just as a fact: the majority of brides I’ve worked with have been friendly and accommodating and calm, so it is once again a case where a few psychos make the entire bunch seem awful. It is also quite below Anne Hathaway to be degraded into the boring girl role – she’s immensely talented and deserves more. But like I said, I end up watching at least once a year for some strange reason, so I obviously don’t hate it that much.

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Made of Honour (2008)

I‘d like to watch this again sometime, but I do remember Patrick Dempsey and surprisingly Michelle Monaghan – why did I think it was Selma Blair?? I see this film holds a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but we all know the raters on there are really just haters. Made of Honor is so not Oscar material, but it was fun at the time!

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The Big Wedding (2013)

This cast is impressive AF – De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams are joined by a younger cast composed of Amanda Seyfried and Topher Grace. Okay, Katherine Heigl too, and I suspect that reviewers rate her badly on purpose. This movie is not that bad, but it can be seen as a bit boring though.

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Father of the Bride (1991)

LOVEEEE. Need to watch again to properly remember and review.

Dishonorable mentions:

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Monster-in-law (2005)

One of J-Lo’s better attempts at comedy, though without a doubt still rather low on the list of funny things.

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The Wedding Planner (2001)

Read my review here. It is such a stupid film man. I see JLo is quite frequent on this part of the list.

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Bridesmaids (2011)

Hmmm. Everyone LOVES this, though I don’t. I need to watch again to make sure this hate is accurate. It is a vulgar film and humour at its worst – just eugh.

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Sex and the City – the Movie (2008)

I never saw the show and can tell you jack shit about it. It was before my generation, and the one episode I tested out never caught. I did see the movie though, and it raises a few eyebrows in my head – this couple clearly never heard anything the other said.

Movies I haven’t seen yet:

Big Fat Greek Wedding

The Corpse’s Bride

My Best Friend’s wedding

The Wedding Singer

Well, there you have it. This post turned out way bigger than I thought, and I hoped you had as much fun as I did! Let me know what you thought in the comments below 🙂

Movie Review: Tammy (2014)

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Plot: After losing her job and learning that her husband has been unfaithful, a woman hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother (via IMDb)

 Rating: a surprised 6.5/10

Well it seems like 2014 can still deliver some pleasant surprises. I didn’t expect was that I would like this. I am currently having a little bitchfit every time I see an overweight lady portrayed as dirty, sloppy, rude and not in control of her life. I hated The Heat, McCartney’s movie before this, and I was certain that Tammy would be just an adaption of that nonsense. Tammy started off looking exactly like I was destined to have a fit again, but the movie redeemed itself by letting Tammy access her full potential and shine. Tammy tries to show that you can hit rock bottom and find a way to pick yourself up and carry on.

This movie had a rather star studded cast but it didn’t overwhelm, and the stars were really good in their respective roles.

Let’s just discuss Allison Janney for ten seconds. I am simply in love with this woman’s acting. I’ve seen her now in Tammy as a comfortable urban mom, in 8 Simple Rules for Dating my teenage daughter as a slightly harassed mother of three, in Easy A as a perverted school headmistress, in countless other small roles and in Sons of Anarchy as the formidable biker matriarch Gemma. She is as convincing as a soccer mom as she is in the SOA, and the roles could not be more difficult. She is always utterly believable, and she can be funny, scary, intense and charming without even breaking a sweat.

I found Mark Duplass adorable as the love interest Bobby and the cautious and mostly awkward relationship development much more real than most movies. Susan Sarandon was a huge reason this worked because she played an excellent harmless looking granny with a seriously mean streak. I adore Kathy Bates (it has so much to do with that cool voice of hers) and she was also charming for the few seconds of screen time she got.

Recommendation: Perhaps I was just in a good mood, but I had a good time with this, and if you are looking for some light-hearted fun that has surprising depths, give this a try!

Movie Review (The Big Wedding)

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Last Friday night we went out to watch the Big Wedding. We were looking for a romantic comedy to cheer up a friend, and we definitely found one. I was shocked when I saw that the movie got generally bad reviews – I really enjoyed it.

The story:

Don (Robert DeNiro) and his wife Ellie (Diane Keaton) split up after 20 years of marriage after Don cheated on her with Ellie’s best friend Bebe (Susan Sarandon). Don and Ellie have three children; Lyla, Jared and Alejandro, who they adopted from Colombia.

Alejandro’s wedding to Missy (Amanda Seyfried) promises to be entertaining when he asks his adoptive parents to make as if they are still married, to accommodate his birth mother’s traditional Catholic beliefs: that divorce is a sin. This understandably upsets Bebe, though she goes with the plan as a wedding gift to Alejandro.

The only daughter in the family, Lyla (Katherine Heigl) arrives in town after her separation with her husband. She is sad because of it, and also because she is incapable of getting pregnant. She is still angry at her father for his cheating ways, and throws up on him at the reception after a concussion.

Jared (Topher Grace) is somewhat a joke in his weird family – he chose to remain a virgin until he finds the one he loves. He is severely tested when Alejandro’s sister arrives, but his mother intervenes by telling her that American women are more restrained and she must treat Jared with respect.

At the wedding, Alejandro and Missy get married on the dock, ignoring the wedding guests and bridal party after every one hears all the scandal’s in Griffin family. Jared and Nuria sleeps together, after she realizes that Ellie had been telling her nonsense to protect her son, although Ellie is far from innocent in her sexual adventures. Lyla’s husband Andrew arrives after Don calls him, and she tells him she is finally pregnant with their baby. Bebe and Don also get married after their ten year relationship. The movie ends where Don puts up the new baby’s name on their family tree.

Rating: 6/10

I really enjoyed the movie. There are many funny moments, and the film managed an acceptable line between romantic comedy and drama. With my own sister’s wedding on the horizon, I hope the wedding doesn’t lose their sanity as much. I was impressed with Katherine Heigl’s performance as Lyla – her characters are usually shallow, and she managed to present this one as damaged and sad, but still capable of teasing and enjoying her family.