MGM // 2008 // 92 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // October 12th, 2011
Marrying a complete stranger is a life sentence.
Jason Biggs and Isla Fisher spend an awfully long time trying to figure out whether they really belong together in Michael Ian Black's Wedding Daze, a conventional, unnecessary romantic comedy that never made it into U.S. theaters. To tell you the truth, I'm not surprised. That said, the film did receive a straight-to-DVD release back in 2008, and, for some odd reason, MGM recently decided to give it the high-definition treatment and release Wedding Daze (Blu-ray). Does that make it a better viewing experience? No, not really.
Wedding Daze introduces us to Anderson (Jason Biggs, American Pie), a pretty ordinary guy who thinks it's a fabulous idea to dress up as Cupid and propose to his beautiful girlfriend at a classy fine dining establishment. Alas, his elaborate plan quickly backfires when the love of his life drops dead before she can even give him an answer. Blaming himself for the surprising tragedy, Anderson slips into a rough, yearlong depression.
It is not until his best buddy Ted (Michael Weston, Garden State) tells him to finally let go and start dating again that Anderson experiences a sudden change of heart and spontaneously decides to propose to a total stranger. That stranger happens to be a quirky waitress named Katie (Isla Fisher, Wedding Crashers), who, plagued by her own personal troubles, accepts right away...
Judging solely by the DVD cover, the plot description and the movie's featured cast, Wedding Daze looks just like another cheap American Pie knockoff troubled by embarrassingly vulgar jokes, absurd twists, and moronic characters. As luck would have it, the situation isn't that bad, and even though the film certainly features a fair amount of absurdity, it's definitely not going down as one of the worst comedies I've seen. Make no mistake though, Wedding Daze still suffers from an annoyingly slow pace and a shallow script that causes its 92-minute running time to feel like an eternity.
One of the movie's main flaws is its dull story, which literally starts to fall apart after a short but amusing beginning. While Wedding Daze successfully builds a certain amount of curiosity and interest during the introduction of the main characters and the initial meeting between Anderson and Katie, the movie quickly loses its appeal as the two strangers start to seriously doubt their abrupt decision to get married. What viewers are treated to next is the same old story of two seemingly mismatched people who take way too long to realize they are indeed madly in love with each other.
Where does this leave Anderson and Katie? For one thing, they spend most of the movie paying excruciatingly boring visits to their eccentric parents, who all have their share of awkward complaints about the future son or daughter-in-law. I understand these lengthy visits are meant to boost the film's comic value and all, but at the end of the day, all they do is more damage than good. Laughs are scarce, the jokes never really fly, and the overly absurd behavior of nearly all the characters doesn't exactly increase the level of entertainment. On the contrary, you quickly start to wish they would just all choke each other so the film could come to an end.
As we move toward the final act at a snail's pace, it becomes obvious that writer/director Black knew he had to up the ante in order to not completely lose his viewers before the film's end. Hence, the whole mood of Wedding Daze changes abruptly, catapulting Anderson and Katie into a strange slapstick finale that involves two over-the-top cops, a lame prison visit, and a fast resolution to unnecessary subplot conflicts thrown into the mix to make the whole thing look more attractive. Sadly, what was certainly meant to kick the film's pace into a higher gear eventually backfires. The little appeal Wedding Daze had vanishes almost instantly.
Before the third act debacle though, Jason Biggs and Isla Fisher do share a few heartfelt romantic moments, which we don't get to see enough in this production. They both have an undeniably onscreen chemistry, and especially Fisher is in her element, as usual. Decent supporting roles include performances by Joe Pantoliano and Michael Weston, and I think it's safe to say that the acting easily remains the best thing about Wedding Daze.
On Blu-ray, the movie looks decent, although some shots are grainier than others. All in all though, the 1.85:1 non-anmorphic widescreen presentation of the feature boasts a solid, sharp picture quality with vivid colors and accurate contrast. The audio is presented in a 5.1 DTS-HD Master mix, and both volume and balance between dialogue, foley, and music sound just about right. Special features are limited, with the disc including only a few deleted scenes and an alternate opening.
Despite good intentions, Wedding Daze can't keep up with memorable films of the same genre. The cast shows a lot of potential, but the story just falls flat. Black's comedy deserves some praise for not succumbing to the vulgar, moronic style similar films employ to please a certain crowd, but then again, the slow pace and the presence of boredom eliminate every chance the film has to leave a long-lasting mark. I always enjoy watching Fisher's cuteness and even Biggs' comedy, but this time around, I was incredibly relieved when the end credits finally started to roll.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* DTS 5.1 Surround (French)
* DTS 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Alternate Opening
* Deleted Scenes