The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
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THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan

"THE WILDE WEDDING"

The Wilde Wedding

There's a whole subgenre of comedies about quirky, dysfunctional families coming together for a major event, like a holiday or someone's nuptials. The Big Wedding, Love the Coopers, The Family Stone these are just a few examples. Some are better than others, but most of them are pretty similar. Dalliances occur, drugs are taken, fights break out, everyone learns something important at the end, etc. The Wilde Wedding brings nothing new to that formula, which ensures a perpetual feeling of deja vu.

Glenn Close plays Eve Wilde, a beloved movie star about to be married for the fourth time. Her intended is noted author Harold Alcott (Patrick Stewart). The entire family comes to her upstate New York home for the event, including her druggie son Ethan (Peter Facinelli), rock star daughter-in-law Priscilla (a badly miscast Minnie Driver), and sardonic granddaughter Mackenzie (Grace Van Patten). Also attending is Eve's first husband, Laurence Darling (John Malkovich), with whom she's remained friendly over the years.

Do people hook up? Yes. Quite a few, in fact. Do disagreements occur? Yep. Are drugs ingested? You know it. The Wilde Wedding checks all the requisite boxes. And if, by some chance, you're still wondering whether life lessons are learned...well, I'll give you one guess.

There are way too many characters crammed into this ninety-minute movie. We haven't even gotten to Eve's other sons, or Harold's daughters, or the various spouses/girlfriends/children hanging around. Pinballing back and forth between all these people ensures that no particular story arc is ever explored beyond a surface level.

The ostensible heart of the story is the relationship between Laurence and Eve, specifically whether he's still in love with her. Rather than making that the sole focus of the movie, writer/director Damian Harris shortchanges it, spending an excess of time on dumb slapstick (one character gets stuck inside a plaster face cast) and subplots that don't pay off (Mackenzie's crush on her own cousin, one of Eve's sons trying to connect with the cute bus driver who brought him to New York). By watering down the central component so much, The Wilde Wedding's supposedly meaningful ending feels bogus and unearned.

Harris additionally shows a lack of confidence in his own ability to tell the story. He relies on having Mackenzie address the camera, putting cutesy graphics up on the screen in a couple of scenes, and employing an obnoxiously jaunty musical score that consistently reminds us that everything we're watching is intended to be funny. Instead of simply unfolding the plot in a straightforward manner, the director attempts to disguise the film's shallowness with trickery.

Of course, you could put Close, Malkovich, and Stewart into just about anything and they'll do fine work. Grace Van Patten also makes a strong impression. They can't save The Wilde Wedding from itself, though. This is about as bland and unsatisfying as a dysfunctional family comedy can get.

( 1/2 out of four)


The Wilde Wedding is rated R for language, sexual content and drug use. The running time is 1 hour and 35 minutes.


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