Thursday, December 3, 2020

Movie with Abe: Love, Weddings and Other Disasters

Love, Weddings and Other Disasters
Directed by Dennis Dugan
Released December 4, 2020 (Theaters and VOD)

Ensemble romantic comedies have a certain appeal because there isn’t just one couple to root for, and if a character feels unlikeable or not properly matched with their apparent soulmate, there are plenty of other personalities to invest in and celebrate. Too much going on can also be a detractor, since a cohesive experience requires connecting with what’s happening on screen, which is difficult if it gets complicated and threads seem unrelated. Regardless, a film that’s all about a large cast and the different ways in which they intertwine should offer something for everybody, even if not all of it works perfectly.

Jessie (Maggie Grace) accidentally earns a reputation as the “Wedding Trasher” after she literally parachutes into the middle of a ceremony, but that doesn’t deter Liz (Caroline Portu) from hiring her to plan her own wedding to promising political candidate Robert (Dennis Staroselsky). Their perfectionist caterer, Lawrence (Jeremy Irons), is set up by his friends with a blind woman named Sara (Diane Keaton) who isn’t about to let his devotion to work ruin their chance at romance. Robert’s brother, Jimmy (Andy Goldenberg), takes a different approach to finding love, going on a dating show where he finds himself chained to Svetlana (Melinda Hill) for days on end. Other players include a duck tour operator, Ritchie (Andrew Bachelor), desperately searching for the woman of his dreams and Mack (Diego Boneta), a musician navigating his own fortunes and feelings.

If it sounds like this film may be a bit overstuffed with supporting characters, some of whom aren’t even named in the overview of its plot, that’s definitely the case. Juggling so many storylines isn’t an issue in itself, but there’s definitely not a consistency to the quality offered by each. Lawrence and Sara’s budding romance, for instance, is more sophisticated, even if both parties don’t go about it in the most mature way, while Jimmy and Svetlana’s forced coupling is painful at times yet somehow manages to become more palatable as it progresses. It feels like some characters – namely Liz – are deserving of a much bigger spotlight yet quickly fade into the background as their relevance decreases with the introduction of and focus on other elements.

Those seeking an entertaining and decently enjoyable comedy will likely be content with this film, which provides its share of laughs even if some of what it shoots for doesn’t exactly score. Director Dennis Dugan is best known for helming most of the Adam Sandler movies that exist, and as a result a thought-provoking, meaningful aftertaste should in no way be expected. But a light, passable experience that doesn’t include violence or anything too objectionable has its value, and that’s exactly what this very average film provides.


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