08 May 2007
they were showing the above film on tv this weekend, and so of course I got sucked in. and like many of us I imagine watching films of yester-decade, I was surprised at this film and the contrast between what I remember (hilarious hilarious hilarious, sparks of love, touching, hilarious) the film was less of all of that. perhaps it was my inability to force from my mind the philandering of Hugh Grant in later years. perhaps it was the fact that the English stereotype he plays to a T seems, now, in my current context, rather dull and a teensy bit offensive. I realise in my distance and in my space as an expat that this film is indeed for a US audience. only a US audience could buy Grant and 'the american' Andie MacDowell were in love. Yikes is she wooden.
I remember the film as being tightly woven, clever, and well-written—it was some of those things, and the comedy was still there, but it's so unbelievably dated (read: I'm old) and the story isn't really even a story. we have no back-story about the group of wedding-friends, no idea what they do for a living--it's just wedding wedding wedding funeral wedding. Not that they have time for much more, but still.
I had missed the comedy of the serial weddings in my earlier youthful viewing. This film is like a rehash of all films with weddings, except that they start and end with them instead of just ending with them. The Princess Bride wedding (inept priest), the 'forgot the rings' moment, the 'forever hold your peace' not held moment--these are classics. In putting them all together, the filmmakers make a statement about the centrality of the wedding for our tradition of storytelling (esp. comedies) and therefore kind of take it over the top. we see the formerly married couples with a baby at the following wedding, and then two at the next one, heightening that cycle of feasting--sex--babies at the end of every comedic adventure.
I still cried during the funeral. who wouldn't? the tokenism of the gay characters and the painful groping for normalisation of their position within the group is sooooo early 90s, no? And yet in contrast to this-- it is actually spoken in the film--actually noted aloud--that funerals, unlike weddings, are among the few official ceremonies that gay people may take part in (as the central participants) in our culture.
And finally, for those who know the series, did this life totally steal its grab bag of characters from this film? hm. discuss....
Posted by tekne at 11:12 AM