Monday, November 30, 2020

Love, Weddings & Other Disasters: Movie Review

Balances the chaos with the right amount of maturity.

Love, Weddings & Other Disasters is a multi-story romantic comedy. Featuring a plethora of characters, some famous actors, it’s a story of people in love and falling in love. Six stories of romance can seem like a lot, but some are more prominent than others, and there is one big wedding which connects all the important characters.   2020

Directed by: Dennis Dugan

Screenplay by: Dennis Dugan

Starring: Maggie Grace, Diane Keaton, Jeremy Irons, Andrew Bachelor and Diego Boneta

Jessie (Maggie Grace) is our central character and is the main plot driver, and she is fantastic. The opening scene is her and her partner sky diving; they accidentally crash in water at another wedding, and Jessie is now single, internet-famous as the wedding trasher and is one-and-done as a wedding planner.

Until Liz the fiancĂ©e needs help planning a big, extravagant wedding to the future mayor of Boston. It’s last-minute because they’ve fired many planners before, not because they’re mean or high-strong, but just very different and wanting two conflicting styles of weddings. Of course Jessie miraculously pulls it off, but her compromises are a lot of fun, and Liz and Robert are both easy to root for since they are nice, likable and funny people.

Diane Keaton and Jeremy Irons are the big names in the cast, the ones likely to draw in an audience but they also represent the weakest storyline. Keaton’s Sara is legally blind (that’s it, the are no other character descriptions for her but she does seem sweet) while Irons’ Lawrence is an egotistical, rude, idiot who dates Sara despite not wanting to and all of the jokes are him making her life harder. There’s also a lot of physical comedy which is just not funny and not helped by Lawrence being completely insufferable.

What should be the main selling point of the film is the original music. Grammy-nominated artist Elle King is featured throughout the movie playing folksy original songs that fit the plot and really elevate the film into something unique and memorable. This is what separates Love, Weddings & Other Disasters from other generic Hollywood rom-coms. I’m a big fan of this soundtrack.

A comedic stand-out is Andrew Bachelor as a duck-boat tour conductor. He has great screen presence and really great delivery of some solid jokes. His story is finding his mystery Cinderella. It’s not an original storyline or all that funny, but it is cute and Bachelor really sells it. The next storyline is a TV reality dating show that is built on making fun of people’s differences and it was really hard to like it at the beginning, but eventually the main couple (related to the central wedding couple) build a bizarrely funny, weirdly sweet romance out of it that I liked their storyline by the end.

Multi-storyline love stories can be a tough sell, but most of them in this film are funny and cute. The film has a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments and the wedding tying all of the different characters together works; it feels organic and not forced (for the most part, the rest is easily forgivable in rom-com land). Some of the romance is really sweet too – watch out for Diego Boneta who is finally stepping into his own as an actor. He’s funny, cute and has an engaging and mature screen presence which has been missing from many of his earlier performances.

Love, Weddings & Other Disasters balances the chaos with the right amount of maturity, and while not all storylines work, it does offer what rom-coms are supposed to: romance and comedy, plus this one has Elle King and original music.