Judge Christopher Kulik hopes his wedding weekend will include young Swedish maids.
Shut up and sing!
Even though its template has been seen many times before, The Wedding Weekend left a smile on my face. Sort of a low-budget variation on the The Big Chill and Peter's Friends, writer-producer-director Bruce (MADtv) Leddy's feature debut isn't exactly the return of the Secaucus Seven. Nevertheless, this is a dandy little comedy if you forgive its familiar trappings and catch it in the right frame of mind.
It's only fresh when it's taken as one of the first entries in the newly coined "bromance" genre. Yet, it's got a winning cast which also includes some sharp, talented women. Originally titled Shut Up And Sing, Leddy was forced to re-title the film in the wake of the Dixie Chicks documentary of the same name hitting theaters. Now the film comes to DVD courtesy of First Look Studios.
A chorus of male friends are reuniting after their last performance in high school a decade ago. The primary focus is placed on David (David Harbour, Revolutionary Road), who's scared at the prospect of reaching his mid-30s with an extremely receding hair line. When old school chum Greg (Mark Feuerstein, In Her Shoes announces his intention to marry, David enlists their old chorus to come to sing at the wedding. As a precursor, a party will be hosted by the swingin' Spooner (Chris Bowers, Cleansing) on his Long Island retreat to celebrate the union. Conversation, drinking, revelations, skinny-dipping, and, of course, singing will mark the weekend before Greg's honeymoon.
A modest indie with a cast going out of their way to overcome a rather flat script, The Wedding Weekend has just enough spice to make it watchable. I could sense some improvisation going on in the scenes where the actors appeared relaxed. At times, Leddy strives too much for Woody Allen, often relying on unspectacular observations rather than the ring of truth. The dialogue (much of it concerning aging and sex) is frank and delivered well, but at times it feels too theatrical for its own good. Aside from the cast, the lovely photography is a virtue, as is a zippy pace which avoids raw drama as much as possible. The Wedding Weekend is a pleasant-enough watch; it just lacks a more truthful bite to really make it memorable.
The lack of big-name stars may put some casual viewers off, but it shouldn't. Harbour is really coming into his own as a fine actor, recently appearing in not only Revolutionary Road but also Quantum Of Solace. And Bowers nearly steals the film as the happy-go-lucky pal who's only concerned in keeping harmony within the group. Camilla Thorsson is in full Shannon Elizabeth-mode as a sexy Swedish maid who tantalizes all the men. But it's really SNL-alum Molly Shannon (Superstar) who brings some great comic relief to the table as a sex-starved women unhappily married to a loutish Republican who's about to go insane.
First Look Studios brings The Wedding Weekend to DVD with middling results. The 1.78:1 Widescreen print is clean but lacks depth and detail, considering the lovely locations. The English 5.1 Surround sound track is acceptable, but also rather unnecessary considering all the dialogue and the lack of music. English SDH and Spanish subtitles are included, but no extras of any kind. It's too bad, as a commentary track by Liddy would have been nice.
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