Netflix’s Love Wedding Repeat is the latest romantic comedy from writer-director Dean Craig, exploring the impact of a seating plan on the various fates of its colourful cast of characters. Although the palatial Italian setting and classical soundtrack might trick you into a luxurious sense of escapism, we are unfortunately sat at the ‘English Table’ for this piece, wishing we were anywhere else.
A clear attempt to re-imagine Richard Curtis’ Four Weddings and a Funeral, the film follows the awkwardly charming, and painfully British, Jack (Sam Claflin), chasing after his American dream girl Dina (Olivia Munn) at a wedding. However, this classic storyline is twisted by the ‘repeat’ aspect of the piece, exploring how the accidental sedation of various characters dramatically alters the evening’s course of events.
Although the concept has textbook romcom promise, it deeply fails in its realisation. The relationship between Jack and Dina is bland, lacking a strong basis and any chemistry. The couple that should propel this piece instead leave it utterly unfulfilling in every time frame. This is in large part down to Munn’s uninspiring performance, derived from her character’s lack of written substance. Tied in with the tired trope in cinema that sees the female lead positioned as a beautiful but blank ideal for the male protagonist to achieve, Dina is afforded no development of character. Without an interesting female lead, this film, and the relationship it champions, falls completely flat.
The surrounding characters also severely lack the necessary depth and texture to make this a worthwhile viewing. Presented as caricatures, each has an individual joke that is repeated to death. As the next character is put to sleep and the cycle restarts, I ask myself how many more dick jokes this monstrosity can cram in, and what adult actually sat down and wrote this. Was their intention to strip this bawdy humour of all its joy, leaving the audience entirely desensitised to its crude comedy?
Although there are some genuinely funny moments, specifically found in its poking fun at the downfalls of classic ‘Britishness’ and the unpleasant Sidney’s (Tim Key) uncomfortable ramblings, these are left truly adrift in a sea of misses. The characters are simply so unlikeable you don’t want to laugh with them or at them, you just want to leave.
Moments of genuine tenderness can be found in the brother-sister dynamic, and some of the unexpected unions of the final act. However, these also lose their weight when positioned next to the chaos of the first, much longer half. It truly feels like you are watching two different films; one a pitiful attempt at a farcical comedy, and the other a subpar romance. Because of this, viewers are not set up to believe in or root for the success of these characters, as little growth or development is provided. Additionally, although the ‘repeat’ element is pivotal to the narrative, after the long, messy start the idea of this ‘repeat’ filled me with a sense of dread at having to relive it all over again. The smartest thing writer-director Craig did was cram most of these repetitions into a quick montage, freeing us from this monotonous nightmare.
I never expected to be dazzled by Love Wedding Repeat. I had no doubt it was not going to be a film that transformed my perceptions of love, friendship, or destiny. But I did expect to be entertained, and on this front it did not deliver.
Love, Wedding, Delete.
Image: Bam Bam Gucci via Wikipedia