out of Five
Running time: 94
Watchable British romcom that's low on big laughs but remains enjoyable thanks to a consistently amusing script and strong comic performances from a talented cast, though it's also a little too predictable in places.
What's it all about?
Directed by Nigel Cole (Made In Dagenham), The Wedding Video stars Rufus Hound as bearded free spirit Raif, who decides he's going to make a wedding video for his uptight brother Tim's (Robert Webb) impending marriage to former sixth form bad girl Saskia (Lucy Punch). However, Saskia's mother Alex (Harriet Walter) has recently married into the affluent Cheshire Set and is hell-bent on delivering the society wedding of the year, which puts an increasing strain on all concerned.
Comedian Rufus Hound reveals hitherto unsuspected acting ability and turns in an engaging, likeable leading performance as Raif, generating appealing chemistry with both his co-stars. Similarly, Lucy Punch is extremely good in a role that effectively allows her to break out of her usual typecasting niche (she normally plays bitches or ditzes), while there's strong comic support from Webb (more or less on uptight autopilot, but enjoyably so) and Matt Berry (as a friend who's roped in for sound recording duties), though the film is very nearly stolen by Harriet Walter, who is terrific as Alex and manages to make a potentially unsympathetic part very likeable and funny.
With the recent glut of found-footage films, the whole documentary style hand-held camera conceit is in danger of being played out, but it works here because Cole is careful to have everyone act as they would on an actual wedding video, exaggerating their behaviour accordingly, getting annoyed with the camera's constant presence, letting their guard drop when they think the camera isn't watching and so on. In addition, the script is well written and largely pulls off its big emotional moments, including a final act plot detail that terrible Hollywood romcoms tend to stumble over and get horribly wrong.
Where the film falls down a little is in its predictability, since it is obvious very early on where the story is going and there are no real surprises along the way. On top of that, the script was clearly written for much younger actors and there's the occasional slip-up in that respect, such as when Harriet Walter's character talks about how she ran away from home at her daughter's age and both Punch and the two male leads are very obviously in their 30s rather than their 20s.
It's also fair to say that there are no real belly laughs in the film, though it is at least consistently amusing and it's refreshing to see a film like this stay largely grounded in reality rather than going for over-the-top zaniness for its own sake.
This is an undemanding but nonetheless likeable British romcom that succeeds thanks to strong comic performances and a consistently amusing script. Worth seeing.