The Wedding Weekend
2008, NR, 95 min. Directed by Bruce Leddy. Starring Molly Shannon, Mark Feuerstein, David Harbour, Elizabeth Reaser, David Alan Basche, Rosemarie DeWitt, Reg Rogers, Alexander Chaplin, Liz Stauber, Samrat Chakrabarti, Chris Bowers, Camilla Thorsson.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., May 30, 2008
A poor man's companion piece to the forthcoming Sex and the City, this earnest, well-acted ensemble film is a seriocomic meditation on what it means to be an American male approaching the dread four-oh when, of course, all involved would much rather remain 19 forever. Fluctuating wildly between surprisingly honest, unforced moments of male camaraderie and jarring sequences of loopy (but no less realistic) emotional meltdowns, this is The Big Chill by way of Woody Allen, Noah Baumbach, and – your high school glee club! It's a histrionic affair that frequently threatens to spill over into outright hysteria. But when writer/director Leddy slows things down a bit, the effortlessly naturalistic ensemble cast flexes both their acting skills and their characters' age-related ambivalence. It's here that The Wedding Weekend captures the rhythmic snap, crackle, and pop of honest male banter. As the title suggests, nuptials are drawing nearer – my God! – to Greg (Feuerstein), one of a group of seven once-inseparable men who, as the gratingly expository opening sequence shows, once belonged to a men's choral group. Maybe this is de rigueur in the Hamptons or Hyannisport or wherever this weekend is set, but I was under the impression that barbershop septets had more or less vanished from the zeitgeist around the time of FDR's second term and almost certainly prior to Ed Koch's mayoral reign. Apparently I was mistaken, however, as these catty man-children sing and sing again, which immediately, if unintentionally, put me in mind of the old Vincent Price horror show Scream and Scream Again. Not the filmmaker's intention, I suspect, but against seemingly insurmountable odds, and by slow degrees, The Wedding Weekend elicits its own brand of mordant, semi-sage, testosterone-fueled humor. Much of this comes from Rogers' Seinfeldian Manhattanite Richard, whose impeccable comic timing almost single-handedly saves this weekend whine-fest from its own ill humors. Almost.
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The Wedding Weekend, Bruce Leddy, Molly Shannon, Mark Feuerstein, David Harbour, Elizabeth Reaser, David Alan Basche, Rosemarie DeWitt, Reg Rogers, Alexander Chaplin, Liz Stauber, Samrat Chakrabarti, Chris Bowers, Camilla Thorsson