I consider myself a red-blood American male. What that means is that I like my films with plenty of action, plenty of excitement, and plenty of machismo. I’ve never, ever been one for romantic comedies. It isn’t that I dislike them; rather, it’s just that I rarely see a romantic comedy that actually pairs up two leads in a situation where I’m willing to both root for them and accept that two such knuckleheads could actually end up together. Most of the writing in rom-coms tends to be more than a bit saccharin for my tastes, and I’m often ready to turn the thing off halfway through it over asking for my disbelief to be suspended one too many times.
Thank goodness THE WEDDING VIDEO gave me a different perspective on life, love, and liberty.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
Raif (a scene-stealing Rufus Hound) is hoping to please his somewhat fussy, somewhat uptight brother Tim (Robert Webb) by renting a high-end video camera and cobbling together a fun and frivolous behind-the-scenes production of Tim’s upcoming wedding to Saskia (a delicious Lucy Punch). But what starts out as a gift turns into a journey of the heart as the misadventures show that all involved may be doing what they’re doing for all of the wrong reasons.
That said, THE WEDDING VIDEO is a delight.
Anyone who’s read any of my reviews knows that I’m a pretty big supporter of the ‘found footage’ format in filmmaking. While that’s not quite what’s on display here – it’s safe to presume that the character of Raif cobbled said footage together in order to complete the project for his brother despite the wedding not coming off anywhere remotely near as planned – it’s still a very close second. Plus, it loaded with more charm than most films can muster, much of which is due to the inspired choices to flesh out so many secondary characters with some measureable depth.
For example, other rom-coms would be happy to have a somewhat bumbling priest oversee the ceremony, but VIDEO goes a step further by giving him a delightful layer of self-awareness (in that he’s entirely lacking it). Wedding comedies have made great mileage out of mothers and/or mothers-in-law trying to hijack such an affair for their own purposes, but VIDEO puts Tim and Saskia’s nuptials on course to be ‘the wedding of the century’ between dueling social classes. Lesser films are content to craft an ensemble out of quirky misfits, throw them in a room, and see how they react; but VIDEO – from its quite beginnings of Raif telling anyone who’s watching why he’s filming himself all the way to its somewhat formulaic love story of a bride falling out-of-love with the groom while falling in love with the best man – retains a smartness without resorting to the predictable comic shtick. Much of this is due to the unstoppable charm and talent on the shoulders of leads of Hound, Webb, and Punch: they’re a dynamic trio you’re willing to root for, even when you’d normally not believe what you’re seeing.
THE WEDDING VIDEO (2012) is produced by Squirrel Films and Timeless Films. DVD distribution is being handled by Level 33 Entertainment. As for the technical specifications, this is a largely smartly made flick – it’s done kinda/sorta in the ‘found footage’ format in that the lead is assembling a behind-the-scenes look at his brother’s impending nuptials – so any shortcomings are easily forgiven as part-and-parcel of what you get with such a process. Lastly, I’ve no way to know if the final product will have special features as I was graciously provided a screener DVD copy with the film alone – I’d hope there would be something behind-the-scenes as the strength of the flick deserves some extra attention.
HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION POSSIBLE. As I said, I’m no fan of romantic comedies; and it’s rare that I’ll give one as enthusiastic an endorsement as I do this one. Still, THE WEDDING VIDEO had all of the right elements in just the right combination. It’s an old-fashioned comedy of manners wrapped up in new-age YouTube unintended honesty where all of the players are not only perfectly cast but hit their marks constantly from start-to-finish. It’s easy to suspend any disbelief and enjoy this ensemble work their marital magic!
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Level 33 Entertainment provided me with a DVD screener copy of THE WEDDING VIDEO by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review; and their contribution to me in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.