Love, Weddings & Other Disasters

Review by Rich Cline | 2/5

Love, Weddings & Other Disasters
dir-scr Dennis Dugan
prd Dennis Dugan, Nadine de Barros,Adrian Politowski, Martin Metz, Dan Reardon
with Diane Keaton, Jeremy Irons, Maggie Grace, Diego Boneta, Andrew Bachelor, Andy Goldenberg, Veronica Ferres, Melinda Hill, Dennis Staroselsky, Caroline Portu, Dennis Dugan, Richard Kline
release US 4.Dec.20
20/US 1h35

grace bonet bachelor

Is it streaming?

irons and keaton
This frothy multi-strand romantic-comedy is fast and amusing enough to hold the interest, even as filmmaker Dennis Dugan indulges in a steady stream of corny slapstick and appalling plot points. It's relentlessly mindless as as the script plays with the generic tropes of the genre without even a hint of authenticity. With some quirky character touches, the goofiness is enjoyably undemanding, but it's also sometimes vaguely offensive.
In Boston, florist Jessie (Grace) has virally broken up with her boyfriend, but gets a job organising the wedding of the city's prospective new mayor Robert (Staroselsky). This means working with the snobby event manager Lawrence (Irons), who fails to dodge a blind date with the literally blind Sarah (Keaton). Meanwhile, Robert's bumbling brother Jimmy (Goldenberg) is in a wacky matchmaking reality TV competition, chained to a shady Russian stripper (Hill). And they're all on a collision course with tour guide Ritchie (Bachelor), who has many female fans but is looking for his Cinderella.
The various plot threads loosely cross each other, and they also share a superficial silliness, even as they tentatively tap into various realistic issues. Sarah and Lawrence are both rusty at dating, but enjoying getting to know each other. Jessie leaves a trail of destruction wherever she goes, and is clearly perfect for the accident-prone hottie (Boneta) who fronts the wedding band. After a rather overwrought set-up, Ritchie vanishes for much of the running time. And a couple of mobster subplots go precisely nowhere.

At least the performances are relaxed, so everyone is watchable even if the script never reveals anything meaningful. Grace and Boneta have the best on-screen chemistry, while the always entertaining Keaton and Irons feel a bit forced in their somewhat cartoonish roles, but find some sweet moments amid the contrivances. (Sarah's guide dog is appallingly inept, which isn't remotely funny.) With fake edginess and an idiotic narrative, Goldenberg and Hill's strand doesn't work at all, but they amiably manage to hold it together.

A connecting theme is the need to allow some chaos and randomness into life from time to time. So the best ideas are things like Lawrence letting himself be blindfolded to share Sarah's perspective, or Robert getting in the spirit of helping Ritchie find his lost love. And even if every joke is hackneyed and each outcome is almost painfully predictable, this is the kind of movie that warms the heart with its dopey earnestness, leading to the expected outrageously happy ending.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 20.Nov.20

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© 2020 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall