Warner Bros. // 2006 // 175 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ryan Keefer (Retired) // May 10th, 2006
"Oh man, I wouldn't have had breakfast if I knew there was going to be corsages!"
Like Friends without having to sort through most of the other standard yuks on all 238 episodes? Do you like themed episodes of Friends, where they all do something to make sure that Monica gets her cooking done or that Joey can get his big movie part? Well now you're in luck, because Warner Brothers has started releasing themed compilation discs of Friends (witness The One With All the Babies, for instance). So stop getting your hair cut like Rachel (because it's 2006, for God's sake), and check out if this is worth it.
Putting aside the fact that Friends had an audience for so long that it stayed at or near the top of the Nielsen ratings hill throughout its run, let's take a look at what the show was. You had six cute people in Monica (Courtney Cox, Scream), her friend Rachel (Jennifer Aniston, Derailed), Monica's brother Ross (David Schwimmer, Madagascar), Ross's friends Joey (Matt LeBlanc, Charlie's Angels), and Chandler (Matthew Perry, The Whole Nine Yards), and the group's mutual friend in Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow, Happy Endings). And as far as I can tell, they sometimes had jobs and hooked up with each other from time to time?
Yeah, that's pretty much all I can muster when it comes to Friends. I was (and still am, to some degree) a grumpy little cynic when it comes to this show. I can appreciate some of the special episodes and performances (and yeah, I watched when Ross and Rachel first got together), but by and large, it wasn't my cup of tea, so there.
I don't think there were any other wedding episodes (or at least, none with any of the show's main characters), so this disc pulls together the four for the show, all of which occurred starting from Season Four onwards. The self-explanatory titles are:
* "The One With Ross's Wedding"
Season Four -- Airdate 5/7/98
The kids go to London, where Ross is set to marry Emily (Helen Baxendale), and Rachel, while wanting to tell Ross that she loves him, declines to go, instead she decides to wait in New York with a very pregnant Phoebe. Once they get over there, Joey is clearly the very happy American tourist, while Chandler is the quiet sullen one. Despite some last minute wedding logistics involving the church (and the threatening of a delay), the wedding nearly goes off without a hitch. But wait, Rachel changes her mind and flies to London! Does she get there in time to tell Ross her feelings? Does Ross feel the same way? Why am I asking things rhetorically? Aside from the usual quota of British culture, the episode guest stars famous Brits Sarah Ferguson, Richard Branson, and a very young Hugh Laurie (House) as the one who sits next to Aniston on the plane. And kidding aside, this was actually well-handled, even as I was watching it again. Those who are fans will remember the hookup that came out of left field during this one.
* "The One in Vegas"
Season Five -- Airdate 5/20/99
Joey works in Las Vegas as one of the guards of Caesar's Palace, but hides it from the gang, even as Monica and Chandler go to Vegas on a (convenient) spur of the moment trip to celebrate their anniversary. Monica decides to tell Chandler she bumped into her ex-boyfriend Richard (normally played by Magnum P.I.'s Tom Selleck), and he doesn't handle it well at first. The rest of the kids follow them out to Vegas, where Phoebe deals with casino "lurkers," and Ross and Rachel get very drunk while playing pranks on each other. Chandler finally comes to his senses and proposes to Monica during a hot shoot at the craps table, so they go to the chapel, but someone else has beaten them there. Minus the guest star cameo kitsch, the story's a little bit hollower, and everyone just seems a little more goofy than usual.
* "The One with Monica and Chandler's Wedding"
Season Seven -- Airdate 5/17/01
Monica and Chandler set a date and everyone shows up, including his mother (Morgan Fairchild, Falcon Crest) and father (Kathleen Turner, Romancing the Stone). However, Chandler freaks out and runs away. To add to the trouble, Joey's part on a major movie is extended to the day of the wedding, where he deals with an indisposed actor (Gary Oldman, The Fifth Element). A pregnancy test is found in Monica's bathroom and everyone assumes that it's hers, but is it? The stories seemed to be reaching a little bit at this point, but the last-minute change in direction led to some good performances over the next couple of seasons.
* "The One with Phoebe's Wedding"
Season Ten -- Airdate 2/12/04
Phoebe gets married to her boyfriend Mike (Paul Rudd, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), and Joey is given the role of being her de facto father, which he takes to pretty quickly. Ross and Chandler are hurt that they're not in the wedding and rabidly compete to see who will be asked to when a groomsman drops out, and Monica acts as the wedding planner Gestapo in this episode. But wait, it's February in New York, and a blizzard is shutting down the city. Will the wedding still go on? Once Rachel had her baby, which happened in Season Eight, two things became apparent; first, the cast was pretty much doing it for the paycheck and hiatus time for films, and two (not to sound like a pig here), the women had grown a bit old for the roles. Even still, the episode is stripped to the basic stuff here, and it works.
Aside from a commentary track on the third episode on this disc by Kevin S. Bright, David Crane, and Marta Kauffman, nothing of note is really included on the disc. The commentary has some nuggets of information, but nothing too compelling. And the first disc includes some DVD exclusive additional footage and some bloopers at the end, but other than that, things are pretty straightforward.
Some of these episodes really aren't stand-alone things, some of what goes on is part of storylines that occur both before and afterwards. I do find it ironic that Rachel, whose first appearance in the show was as a runaway bride, did not really have a significant part in any of the weddings, aside from being Ross's subconscious slip in his wedding to Emily. Other than that, watching these episodes on their own is bound to leave the novice moderately confused.
If the goal of this compilation is to inspire people to run out and buy the seasons (or series boxed set), then I guess The One With All the Weddings does what it's supposed to do. Now that the show's been off the air for a little while, time will tell how the curse of the hit show affects the main players.
Not guilty, bring in the next case, muy rápido, before the theme song stays in my head.
Review content copyright © 2006 Ryan Keefer; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 175 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Selected Episode Commentary by Executive Producers Kevin S. Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane
* Official Site
* Season 1 Review
* Season 2 Review
* Season 3 Review
* Season 4 Review
* Season 8 Review
* Season 9 Review
* Season 10 Review
* The One With All the Babies Review