7%?! ‘The Big Wedding’ (2013).

17 Jun

The Big Wedding posterOn the face of it, The Big Wedding doesn’t promise much. First of all, the super-generic title sounds about as exciting as eating Ready-Salted crisps at an accountancy convention. Secondly, Katherine Heigl is in it; her cinematic résumé is dotted with horrendous rom-coms and the sort of god awful  family-friendly dirges your mother would enjoy (Knocked Up, The Ugly Truth, New Year’s Eve – you get the gist). Thirdly, it has Robin Williams reprising his role as a clergyman from License to Wed, a molten turkey of a film. Finally, it’s impressively low score of 7% on Rotten Tomatoes inspires only fear.

But hold the phone, stop the cavalry, and don’t drop the bombs just yet – The Big Wedding is a surprisingly OK movie! Perhaps it was the abysmally low expectations going in, unavoidable given the above information, but the fact that this film didn’t wound me in any shape or form is nothing short of a miracle.

Yet another ‘White People With Problems’ movie, this time round several of the lead characters are noticeably more tanned than usual. Al (Ben Barnes) is marrying Missy (Amanda Seyfried), but the couple are hounded by a cacophony of problems convoluted enough to make Jerry Springer blush. Though Missy’s parents have issues, Al hails from a litany of oddballs: his crazy adoptive father Don (Robert De Niro) dumped the rather dull Ellie (Diane Keaton) for the hippyish Bebe (Susan Sarandon), even though the former bore him two children; a celibate doctor (Jared, Topher Grace) and an aggressive lawyer (Lyla, Katherine Heigl). Amidst it all, both his birth mother and Father Moinighan (Robin Williams) demand they undergo a traditional Catholic ceremony.

Don't fall for the apparent innocence; this movie is disgusting.

Don’t fall for the apparent innocence; this movie is disgusting.

So yeah, it’s a fairly big wedding alright. As you can probably gather from the synopsis, this movie is as hokey one can be, pelting us as it is with the traditional ‘family is important’ and ‘love is good’ cheese. Also, ‘non-American people are weird’, but we can let that one slide.

But where The Big Wedding works lies not in its story, dialogue, characterisation; from a technical standpoint, this film is fairly dreadful. What I enjoyed most about the movie is that it’s an R-rated comedy that actually deserves its label. A quick stroll past your local cinema will reveal nothing but the usual suspects – a laughably safe ‘comedy’ starring Owen Wilson or Eddie Murphy, the ‘hilarious’ family-friendly hijinks Ben Stiller and co., or another expansion of the tumour that is Adam Sandler.

The Big Wedding, on the other hand, is an American attempt at the antiquated ‘French Farce’ sub-genre of comedy that, for the most part, totally nails it. This is a bawdy, naughty, rowdy movie ridden with innuendos and under-the-table masturbation. Cunnilingus is explored in-depth within the opening scenes, nine-hour orgasms are discusses and everybody is having lots of sex with everybody else – they work the blue material. It’s also refreshing to see the typically mellow faces, such as Katherine Heigl or Susan Sarandon, play such unusual roles for them (a borderline demonic woman full of rage and a horny pastry chef, respectively).

Look, it made me laugh. Perhaps not for the duration, but often enough to ensure a fairly consistent grin on my part. A chimp could have written the script, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy myself immensely.

Simon says: don’t judge a book by its cover – or a film by its RT score.

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