Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The Wedding Trip: Movie Review





Romantic indie that eventually finds its footing.
Lisa and Murray are getting married, but The Wedding Trip isn’t about them. Making a road trip to the wedding, groomsman Jack (Bart Blachnio) has been told to give a ride to bridesmaid Samantha (Sydney Bakich). Jack arrives, meets Samantha and realizes she was the other half of a really bad date he went on years ago, so he leaves her alone in her driveway, except you really can’t say no to Lisa and Murray.   2021

Directed by: Sean King

Screenplay by: Sean King

Starring: Bart Blachnio, Sydney Bakich

Two almost-strangers who already hate each other are about to spend the next two days driving to Tennessee. It’s a simple set-up with a fairly obvious story projection. It’s also a very indie movie with a limited budget and inexperience in front of the camera. The opening scenes are rough – awkward line delivery and with such a minimal production, there’s nothing else to fall back in. However, for fans of indie rom coms, it’s worth sticking it out. The two freshman actors eventually settle into their roles, and ultimately deliver a sweet and funny character-based, dialogue-driven romantic comedy.

Jack has already decided he hates Samantha, and he’s just going to drive and do what he wants. Samantha doesn’t actually know why Jack hates her, she doesn’t remember him, and attempts to make the most of the trip. She attempts being cordial, but then just settles in to being herself. Potentially a bizarre choice with Jack not reminding Samantha of their previous encounter, but it actually allowed both Jack and Samantha to just be themselves with no false pretenses right off the bat.

Our two main characters are getting to know each other in real time as the audience is getting to know them. It’s surprisingly efficient and effective and keeps the film moving at a nice speed. It also introduces characteristics of Jack and Samantha which will later be used for the plot, primarily Jack has a very recent ex-girlfriend and Samantha isn’t convinced that there is actually going to be, or should be, a wedding happening this weekend.

There is a bizarre amount of toilet humour. It works at the beginning of the movie – long road trip in one car, you can see why Jack cares even if he is treating her like a child. But by the end of the movie and we’re still making toilet jokes, it just seems very immature. For more immaturity, there's a brief sojourn to meet Samantha's high-energy sister and her insane boyfriend, but best to just ignore them; they are somewhat funny but get annoying quick. Also, ignore the poster, there are no handcuffs or mugshot scenes, it's not that movie.

The nice thing about this movie is that both the humour and the romance builds very naturally off of the two characters. By the end both Jack and Samantha feel very real and I have gotten to know both of them. Writer-director Sean King could have benefitted from a female co-writer. Samantha in particular has a lot more “women just can’t be explained" moments, and she could have been more evened-out with Jack with a female perspective behind the camera.

You tend to notice the little things with The Wedding Trip because it is such a small movie – production and story wise, but for fans of the genre, it really is enjoyable. Very indie in its presentation, but it’s a fun little rom-com with solid writing and good characters that balances out both the romance and the comedy.