Love Wedding Repeat

Review by Rich Cline | 3/5

Love Wedding Repeat
dir-scr Dean Craig
prd Guglielmo Marchetti, Piers Tempest
with Sam Claflin, Olivia Munn, Eleanor Tomlinson, Joel Fry, Freida Pinto, Tim Key, Aisling Bea, Jack Farthing, Allan Mustafa, Tiziano Caputo, Paolo Mazzarelli, Alexander Forsyth
release US/UK 10.Apr.20
20/Italy Netflix 1h40

tomlinson fry pinto

claflin and munn
A remake of the 2012 French farce Plan de Table, this is the same style of broad comedy as writer Dean Craig's Death at a Funeral (which was made twice) and A Few Best Men (and its sequel). He directs this time, and it's a nice surprise that he balances the silly and sweet. It helps that the setting is drop-dead gorgeous and the actors ground the characters within the general chaos.
In Rome for the the lavish wedding of his sister Hayley (Tomlinson), Jack (Claflin) runs into her friend Dina (Munn), with whom he had a brief spark three years earlier. Both are now single, but Jack's nightmare of an ex Amanda (Pinto) is sitting at his table. Then Hayley's impassioned stalker Marc (Farthing) arrives uninvited and high, intent on winning her back. Wannabe actor Bryan (Fry) is the nervous maid of honour and is inadvertently drugged before giving his speech. And Jack finds that getting together with Dina is still almost absurdly elusive.
Much of the humour centres around moments of humiliation or idiocy, with added homophobic gags, such as the horror of an old Italian relative kissing Jack and Bryan on the mouth. The butt of most squirm-inducing gags is Key, as a dork who attends the wedding in an ill-worn kilt simply for comedy potential. And then there's Amanda's amusingly clueless boyfriend Chaz (Mustafa) in his mauve tux, or a leery acclaimed filmmaker (Mazzarelli) Bryan is fanboying about. How the nice-guy groom (Caputo) remains outside the fray is frankly miraculous.

Claflin and Munn are charming as people who are clearly attracted to each other, fending off a parade of awkward interlopers and obstacles. Their scenes have a genuine spark of chemistry and snappy timing. And both refreshingly underplay the wackiness. Other characters are more cartoonish: Pinto's downright awful diva, Tomlinson's frazzled bride, Farthing's oblivious coke-head, Mustafa's insecure idiot. Fry and Key play loopy and oblivious, respectively, but manage to find some depth later on.

Just over halfway in, the film pauses and a narrator wonders what might have happened if the mischievous kids had swapped the name cards differently on the table. Cue a flurry of nutty possibilities as new people are drugged, various couples come together and fall apart, and the story settles into a new series of accidents, coincidences and possibilities. Yes, it's all rather ridiculous, but at least there are several nice touches along the way, including some emotional resonance in the various relationships.

cert 15 themes, language, violence, drugs 10.Apr.20

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