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New Release Review (VOD) - ANOTHER KIND OF WEDDING

ANOTHER KIND OF WEDDING review
Dysfunctional and estranged family members gather for a wedding.







Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Pat Kiely

Starring: Kathleen Turner, Kevin Zegers, Jessica ParĂ©, Jacob Tierney, Wallace Shawn, Frances Fisher

ANOTHER KIND OF WEDDING poster

Funny thing: as I’m writing, the entire British nation (if not the Western world) is eagerly prepping for the real-life wedding of the year, with bunting being hung and Kleenex at the ready. Except they’re probably not, because, let’s face it, weddings (even when they are between a lovely American actress and the patron of the Invictus Games) are just utterly boring. Have you ever had a good time at one? No. They’re always the same. Most rely on the same tired script, the same old direction. A recognisable narrative structure that you’ve sat through for what seems like a billion times (come on, when they do the ‘if anyone sees any reason why…’ bit, everybody at the ceremony is secretly hoping that an ex-lover or long-lost relative is going to burst in, simply for the plot twist. Essentially a child, I have to bite my tongue every time). But apparently you can’t say anything, as it’s someone’s ‘big’ day. There’s a forbidding reliance on people’s good will, an assumption that you too are interested in the showy antics of a few people simply because the spotlight is on them: a bit like Another Kind of Wedding, then.

ANOTHER KIND OF WEDDING

We’re in the milieu of middle-class, intellectual Canada in Another Kind of Wedding. So, this means kooky, it means first world problems, it means annoying. The wedding of the title is essentially a MacGuffin, an excuse to recalibrate a disparate family with various degrees of issues, with the build-up towards the inevitable commemoration, an ersatz sequence which at least provides a narrative foundation (so really, the same as any other kind of wedding, actually: someone inform trading standards, etc). The plot involves a fella marrying his brother’s ex-girlfriend, and his estranged parents (who happen to be lesbians) having to bear each other’s company for the duration of the ceremony. You get the impression that writer/director Patrick Kiely feels that such situations are in and of themselves potentially hilarious, instead of what I suspect they really are, which is deeply painful and sad.

ANOTHER KIND OF WEDDING

There’s a glibness to events here, with scenes rattling along with the careless haste of a sketch show. What a kooky bunch this lot are, and no mistake. We start the film in the chief matriarch’s home; she is well random, because her roof has a leak, water pouring in from the ceiling which other characters have to step around, but she doesn’t seem to notice/care about the hazard. Will this household wear and tear, which must have taken some setting up behind the camera, have further plot significance besides being a rather elaborate adjectival image? No. Typical of the film, this is a surface joke that has no meaningful rhyme or reason. Cf. the madcap bit players that wander in and out of the film, enacting so-so turns. The superficial treatment of situations that have the potential to be emotionally fascinating: what would it be like having sex with an ex-partner of a relative? The weirdness, the probability that they are comparing you? YIKES! Can you imagine? This film can’t, and renders such dramatic gold as mere trinkets.

ANOTHER KIND OF WEDDING

About that matriarch: she’s played by the peerless Kathleen Turner, who is still, and always will be, utterly awesome. Actual Joan Wilder! I love late period Turner, who has eased in to her advancing years with an inspirational nonchalance. It’s just as well that Turner graces this film with her intimidating presence too, as there is little to separate the rest of the ensemble. I’m sorry, but all of these people just look the same to me, and they will to you, the equivalent bunch you’ve seen in many other presumptively zany indie comedies. At one point there is a ukulele. And, early on in the film, when someone is packing for the wedding journey, they stow a big bag of springy, emerald weed which the camera lingers on with all the gracelessness of a teenager ostentatiously smoking a joint to show how hard he is. The class C controlled substance has no further bearing on the plot, and the pointlessness of this illicit close-up typifies the immature nature of Another Kind of Wedding, a film that expects us to be impressed by a bag of drugs.

Another Kind of Wedding is on VOD May 22nd.





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