Sister of the Groom (CREDIT: Saban Films/YouTube Screenshot)

Starring: Alicia Silverstone, Tom Everett Scott, Jake Hoffman, Mathilde Ollivier, Mark Blum, Charlie Bewley

Director: Amy Miller Gross

Running Time: 92 Minutes

Rating: R for Language, Casual Nudity, and Molly in the Wedding Cake

Release Date: December 18, 2020 (Theaters/Digital/On Demand)

Alicia Silverstone is an immensely charming person, and yet somehow Sister of the Groom has the temerity to ask her to be immensely un-charming. She plays Audrey, the titular sister of the groom, and that’s not an individual who should be commanding attention on the wedding day. But typically a movie’s main character does indeed command the most attention, so we find ourselves at an impasse immediately. That’s not a place I like to find myself with Silverstone, but actors should certainly be allowed to stretch themselves beyond where they’ve been pegged. In this case, that stretch is quite the challenge, and the end result lays bare the difficulty of delivering on it.

Audrey has a lot of stressors in her life, perhaps more than most people do, but she also has a way of behaving, particularly during her brother’s matrimonial weekend, that mainly serves to amplify all that stress. She’s trying to get back into the swing of her architecture career, so she doesn’t appreciate that her bro Liam (Jake Hoffman) has hired her ex-boyfriend for a job she assumed was hers. She also is no big fan of his significantly younger French fiance Clemence (Mathilde Ollivier), but you kind of get the sense that she might not approve of any potential sisters-in-law. On top of all that, she’s viscerally insecure about her pregnancy-altered belly. At least she seems to be affectionate with her husband Ethan (Tom Everett Scott), although it’s not much of a surprise when it becomes clear that there’s actually a lot of strife bubbling barely beneath the surface there.

If you’re a fan of angsty cinematic family gatherings like The Family Stone or Home for the Holidays or (to keep it wedding-themed) Rachel Getting Married, Sister of the Groom might offer something to entertain you. But from my vantage point, it leans too hard into the unpleasantness and struggles to tease out any profundity. I’ve got to at least give Silverstone credit for so thoroughly stripping herself of any emotional vanity. Alas, though, she didn’t convince me that that was a good idea.

Sister of the Groom is Recommended If You Like: Unrelenting angst

Grade: 2 out of 5 Chuppahs