‘Father of the Bride Part 3 (Ish)’ Movie Review: A Charming and Sweet Little Dividend From Netflix

Pandemic Zooms have given us sequels to many beloved TV shows like Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock and Happy Endings. They’ve given us reunions of films like The Princess Bride and Back to the Future. Now, they can be movie sequels too. Nancy Meyers wrote and directed Father of the Bride Part 3 (ish), a 20 minute special to raise money for World Central Kitchen via Netflix. 

Netflix hosts Father of the Bride sequel
Steve Martin and Kimberly Williams-Paisley | Touchstone/Getty Images

The Zoom special is quickly becoming its own format by which we can judge other Zoom specials. Here’s our review, and you can still watch Father of the Bride Part 3 (ish) on Netflix’s YouTube channel below. 

The new cast of ‘Father of the Bride Part 3 (ish)’

Given that the cast members of Father of the Bride are not actually related, they are not actually living together while filming remotely. So first, Meyers has to explain the business of why George (Steve Martin) and Nina (Diane Keaton) are Zooming separately. It makes more sense than Chris Pratt locking himself in the garage in Parks and Recreation

Florence Pugh plays Megan, Nina’s baby from Father of the Bride Part II all grown up. Ben Platt plays Georgie, Annie (Kimberly Williams-Paisley)’s son from the sequel and George and Nina’s grandson. We also learn what the family has been up to. Matty (Kieran Culkin) is a writer now and George has just retired.

Father of the Bride Part 3 (ish) Review
Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Steve Martin | Touchstone/Getty Images

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You can probably predict where the story of Father of the Bride Part 3 (ish) is going. At only a bit over 20 minutes, it doesn’t have that far to go, and it’s not like the Father of the Bride franchise is big on spoilers. These are movies about life’s universal milestones, and Meyers found another one for this short. She did call in a cameo from one of her big movie star friends so that is a surprise, and well kept secret. She got a song out of Platt too.

Steve Martin and Nancy Meyers are back

Boy, it’s great to see Steve Martin in a comedy again, even if it is on Zoom. He does some brilliant mask comedy and other face comedy, and perorms some well-written rants about handling packages and planning a socially distanced dinner table. 

And, it’s great to see Meyers work again too. She was saying she had no more movies to make in 2019, as Vanity Fair reported. She provides both comic rants and emotional speeches in the context of a Zoom event. Martin’s final voiceover gives the short a nice parallel to the emotional issues with which the first two films dealt. The Alan Silvestri score is there to lend the latter the same gravitas they had in the feature films. 

‘Father of the Bride Part 3 (ish)’ vs. other Zoom shows

Meyers said in her New York Times article that some actors Zoomed from rooms in their house, and others used green screens to add backgrounds. Keaton and Martin look like they’re on a green screen, with Keaton’s background perhaps a still from one of the Father of the Bride movies. Culkin may be on green screen too but it’s less clear. 

Pugh looks like she’s on her real bed and Platt is in his real studio. Williams-Paisley may be in her real kitchen. Alexandra Shipp, as Matty’s fiance Rachel, is supposed to be in a hotel room as a quarantined ER doctor. She’s either dressed her bedroom to look like a hotel or actually booked a real hotel room to film in. None of it takes you out of the movie. We’ve already bought into a fictional family’s Zoom call.

All the pandemic references are eventually going to make Father of the Bride Part III (ish) an artifact. It won’t be as timeless as the two feature films, although we may get nostalgic for the pandemic shows and it wouldn’t even exist otherwise. Yes, it’s schtick but why not do schtick for charity and a free online audience? Hopefully, Netflix will make it available on the streaming platform itself, too.