It is ironic that the film’s title has the word ‘repeat’ in it, because after I nearly drowned in my own drool from boredom, Love Wedding Repeat is a movie experience that absolutely needs no repetition. You would think that Dean Craig (who wears both the writer and director hat for this movie), the writer of the brilliant comedy Death At A Funeral, would have managed a better screenplay than this, especially when the end result is more yawns than loud guffaws.
The first thing the film did wrong was trying to put Sam Claflin in a made for Hugh Grant type of role. Grant can pull off the sometimes stuttering, loveable dork to a T (think Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill, where Grant basically plays the same guy), but this isn’t the type of rom-com leading man that Claflin is used to playing.
Claflin’s romantic leading man is always suave, impossibly good looking, and has so much charm that the female lead is just swept away. Claflin is always the cool guy, and while he can be bumbling, like his character Jack is in this film, it’s just not very believable. Unfortunately, he also doesn’t have much chemistry with his love interest Olivia Munn.
When the movie begins, we are told that the pair had a fabulous weekend together, yet no part of this weekend is communicated to us. The film gives us no clues as to why they even like each other in the first place. I know she’s a war journalist, and that she was close to her mom, who passed away unexpectedly. This could have actually been a form of connection for the two, since Jack has also experienced loss with the death of both his parents, but the film skips over this opportunity, turning to humour instead, which didn’t even pay-off anyway.
Then there is the whole host of minor characters that nobody cares about. Freida Pinto plays Amanda, Jack’s ex girlfriend, who is just insanely mean to her boyfriend Chaz (a man who can’t stop talking about his genitals) and is supposedly still in love with Jack; it’s hard to tell because she shows it in such a bitchy way. Hayley’s maid of honour Bryan (Joel Fry), whose main goal at the wedding is to build a connection with filmmaker Vitelli (Paolo Mazzarelli), and while the film’s goal is to get Bryan to fail humorously multiple times, none of this incites any laughs from the viewer.
The most unlikeable of the lot is Jack’s sister Hayley (Eleanor Tomlinson), who is one of the major characters, and yet I wasn’t rooting for the success of her wedding. In Death At A Funeral, when the brothers decide to put Peter Dinklage’s character in a coffin with their dead father in order to hide his death, I laughed and vehemently agreed that this was the way to go. When Hayley asks Jack to drug her ex-paramour to stop him from making a ruckus, I thought it was a bit of an extreme way to deal with the matter. When you learn the reasons behind her decision, you will find that you have stopped rooting for her altogether.
Lastly, I need to say a few words about the film’s structure, which has two parts to it, built around the idea of a seating plan and the permutations involved. Craig shows us the most disastrous version of a particular seating permutation, and then we are shown the best version emerging. It is a rift of sorts on the movie Sliding Doors, where the movie is split into two parts – her life if she had made the train, and her life having missed the train. While Sliding Doors is a deeply provocative film that examines the idea of fate and choice, Craig’s film flounders in driving home the point of this structure, and fails to create any hilarity from the shenanigans of these various characters.
You are better off having a repeat watch of Netflix’s other romantic comedies, I would even go as far to recommend Falling Inn Love despite my less than favourable review of it, because this film isn’t worth wasting any time over.
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Love Wedding Repeat tries very hard to bring the comedy and the chemistry, but fails to give us either one.
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