Tuesday, February 7, 2023

The Wedding Hustler: Movie Review

Low budget quirkiness in wedding planning.
Chris and Hillary are getting married. Maybe. Eventually. They got engaged and then the pandemic pushed back their wedding, and then it pushed back their wedding again, and now Hillary’s parents are pressuring them to get married despite the fact they really don’t like Chris. He’s lazy and unemployed and their daughter can do better, but a wedding is better than no wedding.   2022

Directed by: Chris Soriano

Screenplay by: Chris Soriano

Starring: Chris Soriano, Christine S. Chang

The Wedding Hustler is very indie and the low budget is apparent, but once the movie gets going the characters are easy enough to enjoy and you can see the humour in all the aspects of wedding planning. There is a lot of inexperience in front of and behind the camera, so a lot of awkward line deliveries, and it’s very unpolished, and hard to get into, but it’s a sold rom-com effort for fans of indie movies. Chris (Chris Soriano, the writer-director is playing a version of himself) decides he needs to do something otherwise he might lose Hillary (Hillary Soriano). So he’s going to throw her a surprise wedding. What seems like a bad idea is most assuredly going to play out like a bad idea, except this is a rom-com, so the romance and comedy balances out the tragedy.

Chris finds a wedding planner online who calls herself The Wedding Hustler, Christine. The low budget works to their advantage here since her ad makes it look like she’s a cheap incompetent wedding planner, and well, cheap is exactly what Chris needs. The majority of the cast is Asian-American; Chris and Hillary are Filipino, and while Christine’s ethnicity isn’t confirmed, she plays up Japanese imagery and a new-age spiritual theme to getting to the heart of relationships.

The film throws a lot of Asians are cheap and Filipino’s are really cheap jokes, but considering these jokes are made by Chris Soriano and directed at the character Chris, they all work. They also have a white character make an Asians are cheap joke, but they don’t let him get away with that. The filmmaker very proudly walks that line that people can make fun of stereotypes of their own culture but not of somebody else’s culture.

The comedy works best when it’s about both Chris’s cheapness and the wedding industry. Most scenes start with the question “What’s your budget?” and Chris replies “I don’t know, how much does this cost?”. And Christine often finds ways to bring vendors way out of Chris’s price range into something more affordable. I suspect people going through their own wedding plans will enjoy most of this.

There is a twist towards the end. It is predictable, but not obvious, so a reasonable way to handle a twist in an otherwise conventional rom-com. As mentioned, The Wedding Hustler is hard to get into, but if you can relate to any of the characters or especially the wedding planning aspects, then it should be very enjoyable for recently-engaged couples.