Judge Brett Cullum has never compared himself to Julia Roberts or Cameron Diaz. Well...not recently anyway!
Our review of Kiss The Bride, published May 6th, 2005, is also available.
Guess who's coming out for the wedding?
Kiss the Bride can be summed up by saying it's the gay version of My Best Friend's Wedding. That's something even characters in the film admit openly in several lines where they compare the leading man to Julia Roberts in the iconic romantic comedy. Out and proud Matt (Philipp Karner, Race You to the Bottom) gets invited to the wedding of the guy he loved but left in high school (James O'Shea, House of the Dead 2), so he drops everything to go back to his small town and find out if this is all for real. He finds the bride (Tori Spelling, Beverly Hills 90210) charming and funny, and soon he's trapped between wishing them well and running off with the groom. Kiss the Bride is the follow-up to director C. Jay Cox's huge gay hit Latter Days, and that as well as the surprisingly well-established supporting cast will attract tons of fans. I guess they are trying to show the fluidity of love, and do a whole riff on gay and hetero marriage being similar enough to not be an issue. The problem is the film works well for the first two thirds, and then implodes in stupidity by the final moments. Still, there is that likable cast and the winning start and middle.
Acting in the film works well, and the cast seems like they are up for a really strong gay comedy. The two leads are handsome with washboard abs, but also talented enough to play the adult incarnations of their characters ably. It is painful to see them try to play teens during flashbacks, but at least they do fine in the main parts where it all counts. The supporting cast is truly amazing for one of these low budget indie flicks, and should be one of the biggest draws of the project. I expect Tori Spelling to be game to hop on board, she's practically a gay icon after movies like Trick under her belt. She comes off as extremely funny, bright, and downright sexy. Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner) gets to be the sexy drunk mother of the bride and she looks amazing. Tess Harper (No Country for Old Men) plays for laughs as the mother of the not so sure groom, and she does a nice job. We also find television legends such as Amber Benson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Robert Foxworth (Transformers) among the ranks.
The plot works up to a point, with a nice melding of a traditional romantic comedy with the equally as predictable gay flick trappings. The setup works well, and I enjoyed the first half of the film which seems like it is heading towards a solid ending. We care about the characters, get engaged with the mystery of how the groom feels, and begin to root for everyone in the film to get what they want. But then something happens to undermine everything. Kiss the Bride stumbles any time it goes broad, and the final act gets far too out there to work. The pain starts right when a character says "I lost my shoes!" and never lets up through the final credits. We notice awkward moments early on when the large comedy is supposed to kick in, as if it just doesn't fit as well. There's a misguided scene where the leading man is mistaken for a stripper, and the results are supposed to be comical but end up making you cringe through the sequence instead. The director seems to not be able to sell the slapstick broad-based comedy that films like My Best Friend's Wedding sometimes shoot for. By the last few scenes, the film plays to this weakness and goes all in with the outlandish wrong-headed big ha-ha efforts when what we want are nice character beats.
The DVD from Liberation comes with a nice transfer and plenty of extras to keep viewers entertained. The behind the scenes featurette goes beyond the usual press kit fluff, and includes nice interviews with all of the cast. There are also some major deleted sequences offered with optional commentary. Some of these scenes should have been in the movie instead of the ones that made the cut such as a pre-wedding talk between bride and groom which fills in some gaps. The commentary features the director and the two male leads, and it's a nice talkative track that gives us more about the process. The transfer works well with hyper bright colors that fit the comic tone. There is some pixilation on stripes and plaids, but not enough to draw you out. Sound options concentrate on the center channels, even though there is a full surround option for those who want the speaker spread.
I have to hand it to Kiss the Bride; despite the ragged ending it is an attempt to do something different with the gay film. Its heart is in the right place, so I can cut it a little slack. I'd say it is worth a watch for the outstanding cast, the excellent first couple of acts, and the chance to see some favorite veteran actors pop up in a GLBT comedy. Just get ready to forgive the wince-inducing ending, and you'll be fine. The DVD comes with a fine transfer and solid offerings which supplement the film well. Kiss the Bride makes you behave as if you're at a wedding—all smiles for the first part, but then dodging the bouquet at the end as you realize the futility of everything you've just witnessed.
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