Director Robert Luketic can do this genre. He’s had success and failure, with movies that include Legally Blonde, Monster-in-Law, 21, The Ugly Truth, and the underrated Win a Date With Tad Hamilton (Topher Grace, Kate Bosworth, and the film debut of Josh Duhamel).
This movie started rather promisingly. We watch as hip boutique clerk Mara (Sarah Hyland from Modern Family) shows up to work late, and not seeming to care. Yet she’s great with customers. She has a gay best friend (because in these types of movies, that’s a requirement). Alex (Matt Shively) gives her crap for going on dating apps merely to look for a free meal [side note: a friend of mine told me years ago, his brother caught on to women doing this, so men now “meet for coffee”]. Yet when the guy you’re trying to get a meal from is a chef (Williams), a free meal might work. It does. They go back to his restaurant (well, greasy spoon diner), and she’s impressed.
We like them right away because when she realizes he doesn’t make much money, she lets him make her pancakes instead of staying at the fancy restaurant they first stopped in. They also have a great chemistry together, which makes us root for the relationship to succeed.
It seems like right after they hook up, they’re getting invitations left and right, for various weddings (didn’t we all in our 20s?). It’s all a great premise for a romantic comedy. Who doesn’t love Four Weddings and a Funeral?
Yet if Four Weddings was fun, just imagine seven. There are relatives, friends, bosses. And you can guess some of the scenarios that are going to pop up. This film isn’t the most original.
What got frustrating quick was, scenes would start out promising. Then they’d tank. For example, the drunk wedding dancing. The way they edited it, to show Maya tearing up the dance floor…only to have us shown that in reality, she’s drunk, swaying awkwardly back-and-forth by herself at the table. The reason she’s sloshed? Well, an old girlfriend of Jake’s (Tyler James Williams) showed up and is mad-dogging her. And in movies like this, my mind is always filled with lots of questions. Why doesn’t he tell her not to be rude to his new girlfriend? Why are they even meeting? And why is the old girlfriend twerking up against this guy at a wedding reception, and why is he not walking away from that situation?
There are so many ways to keep scenarios like this from happening, but in these goofy rom-coms, it always has to be the worst case scenarios. People fall into wedding cakes, they barf (yep, this…like every move nowadays, has vomit), faces are slapped. Parents will act like they like the old girlfriend better, and yadda yadda yadda.
In happier times, we get the montages. Usually those involve trying on various outfits, while a song like “Pretty Woman” is being played.
And the more the movie played, the less my wife and I enjoyed. It’s a shame, because as it started, this new couple sorted through their wedding invitations trying to decide which ones to attend, and how well they knew various friends, and justifying why they had to attend…it was sharp writing. It was also refreshing that they didn’t address the fact that they’re an interracial couple. I’m not sure at what point the screenplay turned to crap (but it was earlier than I would’ve prefered).
This couple is obviously intelligent and witty. So listening to them talk about the various couples was welcome. Yet having them do that in a church, during the nuptials, with everyone around them looking back or telling them to shut up — is just stupid. It was about as frustrating as having a couple do that during a movie and everyone around them being bothered.
If this movie had a big name cast, it would probably be a huge hit. Sloppy writing doesn’t usually stop the general public from flocking to stuff like this.
My wife and I enjoyed the first 15 minutes, and disliked most of the rest that followed.
1 star out of 5.