Upon getting the news that their daughter Kay (Elizabeth Taylor) is getting married to her boyfriend Buckley (Don Taylor), Stanley and Ellie Banks (Spencer Tracy and Joan Bennett) are immediately thrown into the whirlwind of planning a wedding. While Ellie is largely enthusiastic about Kay’s impending nuptials, Stanley isn’t as easygoing about the whole thing.
Of course, there wouldn’t be much of a movie if the wedding plans went smoothly. First Stanley worries that Kay might be marrying a good-for-nothing lowlife, but when those fears are put to rest, every new event brings on a new source of anxiety for Stanley. First Stanley and Ellie go to meet Buckley’s parents and Stanley accidentally drinks too much. Then during the engagement party, few guests are interested in the large batch of martinis Stanley has made for the occasion so he spends the entire party in the kitchen playing bartender.
At first, Kay only wants a small, simple wedding. But since Ellie has always regretted not having a large wedding of her own, she wants to give Kay the wedding she never had. Stanley puts his foot down at a maximum of 150 guests, but that number quickly grows to 250. The whole wedding planning process is enough to make Stanley consider paying Kay to just elope already. And when the RSVP cards are rolling in, Kay wants to call the whole wedding off after getting into a fight with Buckley. But they quickly work things out and the wedding goes on as planned. When all is said and done, Stanley decides all the stress was worth is.
Father of the Bride is completely charming and an absolute delight. This is a movie that just gets it exactly right in every way. Spencer Tracy’s performance is nothing less than a joy to watch. And when you take his performance and combine it with Joan Bennett, direction from Vincente Minnelli, and a wonderful screenplay, you have a real winner of a movie. It’s very funny, warm, and sentimental without being sappy. Plus, who could ever forget that shot when we first see Elizabeth Taylor, looking positively radiant, in her wedding gown? Simply put, Father of the Bride is a real must-see movie.