The Wedding Video (2014)
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Critic Reviews for The Wedding Video
The premise wears thin after a while and the humor is hit-and-miss, but when it's on its game "The Wedding Video" can be laugh-out-loud funny.
Supremely well-intentioned, low-budget British comedy which, with all the will in the world, a likeable cast can't quite power to greatness.
Still has lots of very funny moments and a realistic interpretation of the lengths some people go to when confronted by a camera lens and under ... pressure to perform.
Audience Reviews for The Wedding Video
"We're trying to organize our wedding and you're treating it like it's some big party" Webb fumes at Punch in the movies one funny line. It's a line that condenses the message behind the film. The idea of a wedding ceremony is absurd when you think about it yet so many people become consumed by this ritual to the point where more work is often put into having a successful wedding than a successful marriage. It's an easy target for comedy but the writer of this, Tim Firth, seems clueless as to how to raise more than a handful of mild chortles from the subject.
The found footage genre has long been thought compatible only with horror. I could be mistaken but I think this is the first time it's been employed in the service of a comedy, if you discount mockumentaries like "Spinal Tap". The technique should fit the comedy genre like a glove as it gives film-makers a lot more options when it comes to provoking laughs. No longer do you need worry about breaking the fourth wall as the fourth wall conveniently doesn't exist therefore the audience can be addressed directly ala "Annie Hall". Director Cole never makes sufficient use of the tool he's employing and the handheld camera becomes less relevant as the film progresses. By the end you'll have forgotten this is meant to be a found footage film, and not because the story is gripping.
Britain has an abundance of good comic actors but a drought of decent comedy writers. Americans are often accused of lacking irony but I've yet to see British comedy that can compare to the likes of "Curb Your Enthusiasm", "Frasier" and "The Larry Sanders Show" when it comes to writing which is both hilarious and sophisticated."The Wedding Video" sets out to be a witty critique of social norms and snobbery but lacks confidence in itself and it's audience, ultimately lowering itself to dick and bum jokes.
Level 33 Entertainment's new rom-com The Wedding Video is one of the best new independent movies of 2014. This British import made its American theatrical debut Friday May 9th. And its release could not have been more well-timed. That's because at least in the United States, the annual "wedding season" is here. Brides and grooms everywhere are making all the final plans for their annual June weddings. And this movie makes for a wonderful escape from all of those stresses. The first reason for that is the script, written by Tim Firth (Confessions of a Shopaholic, Calendar Girls, Kinky Boots). The script pokes fun at the absurdly over the top levels to which so many people go in order to plan the "perfect wedding." This includes the annual competition among women to see who has the best and worst wedding. Another reason that this movie works is the acting on the part of the cast. The cast does such an impressive job interpreting Firth's script that audiences will believe they are really seeing something from everyday life. Last but not least, audiences will appreciate the movie's pacing. The pacing, the acting and the writing itself all come together to make The Wedding Video a wedding video that any rom-com fan will want to watch again and again.
The very first and most important aspect of The Wedding Video that audiences will appreciate is the movie's script, written by Tim Firth. Firth's script is so funny because of its realism. It pokes fun at the absurdly over the top lengths to which so many brides and grooms (and their families) will go in order to put on the "perfect" wedding. In some cases those lengths are even part of a covert competition among women to outdo the other because they think weddings are that big of a deal. Don't believe that? One need only turn on TLC and one will see that there is quite a bit of reality to Firth's comedy. If one looks close enough, he even pokes fun at the people that would make wedding videos and documentarians in general through his very approach in this movie. As with the wedding shows that permeate television, anyone that has ever seen a documentary of any sort or even a wedding video being made will find the comedy in Firth having Raif (Rufus Hound) documenting every little thing that goes on in the days leading up to the wedding. When one takes into consideration just how much comedy and commentary Firth included throughout the script, one must applaud him for being able to balance it all without allowing any part of his story to step on the other and bog the whole thing down.
Firth did a job well worthy of applause in crafting the script for The Wedding Video. Just as worthy of applause is the case chosen for the story. The cast, led by Hound, Robert Webb, and Lucy Punch, expertly interprets Firth's script and effortlessly pulls viewers into the story. Viewers forget that they are watching movie thanks to their acting. Hound and Punch are especially worthy of applause. That's because of the bond that eventually forms between Raif and Saskia as he films her. Her progression from snobbish valley girl type to a more open, laid back person feels natural. Punch doesn't force her character's transition. It just happens. The way she handles it makes it all the more believable.
The movie's main cast does its own share to make The Wedding Video a nonstop laugh riot. The supporting cast adds its own share of laughs, too. Harriet Walter plays Saskia's mother Alex. She is spot on as the overpowering mother figure. From the moment that she originally meets Raif and is told he's documenting everything, Alex tries to make the video more about her than her daughter. One of her best scenes comes as she announces to her friends at a horse race that there had been a change of venue for the wedding. She goes to Raif as they are opening the invitations and asks if he had captured the moment because the reactions wouldn't seem as real in a second take. Raif later captures the real reactions of Alex's friends, making the moment all the funnier. The reaction in question won't be given away here. But it points back to the realism in Firth's script. The reaction is a mirror image of what is seen on all the wedding shows currently on television. Even cast that plays more minor roles such as The Wedding Planner (Michelle Gomez) and Konstantin (Olegar Fedoro) add their own laughs. Gomez and Fedoro make the best of their parts, too making the movie all the funnier.
The Wedding Video's cast and its script are two of the most important factors in the overall enjoyment of this movie. And both factors go a long way towards making this movie just as enjoyable as any major name rom-com ever churned out by Hollywood. There is one more factor to take into consideration in the success of the movie. That factor is the movie's pacing. Firth manages in the course of roughly ninety minutes, to tell so many jokes and keep the story moving without losing anything along way. He doesn't try to cram too much into any one given scene, thus making the whole story much easier to follow. The end result is that audiences aren't left feeling like they need to watch the movie again to figure out what happens at any one point. That solid pacing comes together with the cast's acting and Firth's script to make The Wedding Video one of the best indie films of 2014 and one of the funniest rom-coms of this year's annual wedding season.
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I can't believe 73% of critics liked this movie. I specifically disregarded negative-to-lukewarm reviews (thinking, maybe they're just being snobs) in order to go and seek some light and unchallenging entertainment this afternoon. I must say, I can't recall the last time I looked at my watch in a cinema/having paid full price for a movie, prior to today. It features actors I like, but was truly less than the sum of its parts. I also would have thought I might find Rufus Hound more sympathetic (I've enjoyed his radio series about peoples' teenage diaries), but I'm not sure he's cut out for full-length, starring roles. All in all, this film was disappointing enough that I'm not sure I would have even felt it was worth so much time if I were watching it on an airplane. Give it a miss, in my opinion.
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