24 August 2012

THE WEDDING VIDEO- Review

Just as The Expendables 2 only adequately catered to the testosterone-fuelled action junkies in the cinema, last Friday also held a couple of moderately satisfying films with a more romantic bent- one was TakeThis Waltz, and its funnier alternative was The Wedding Video, in which a bunch of British comedic actors come together under the direction of Nigel Cole, trying his hand at found footage for the first time.

The cameraman character is (initially) Raif Moyle, a dreamer who has spent the last few years travelling the world. He's back in the UK on best man duties for his brother, Tim. Raif exacerbates matters from the moment he finds out that Tim's blushing bride-to-be is Saskia Dutton, a wild child schoolmate of his, who has since acquired some airs and graces. As a wedding present, Raif decides to chronicle the run-up to the wedding on his video camera, and that's how the story unfolds.

After the found footage sub-genre hit its nadir earlier this year with Project X, a comedy like this one has nowhere to go, but up. Happily, The Wedding Video manages a little more than mere verticality, even if it's a slightly slow incline. In retrospect, it's only having been conditioned by the found footage trend that I even keep saying “found footage” so much, in relation to this film. With Raif's voiceover, it's presented more as something that has been shot and edited after the fact, rather than lost documentation of some overwrought happening or other.

But nor is it really a mockumentary, as Confetti was. Confetti is actually the film of which this is most reminiscent, the problem with this similarity being that I had entirely forgotten that film existed until this one reminded me of it. As likeable as this film may be, it feels fairly unmemorable, at least until the next similar British wedding comedy comes along. Confetti starred Robert Webb too, but here, he keeps his kit on and plays the straight man to his surprisingly convincing screen brother, Rufus Hound.

For as much as it seemed like this was Hound's clever escape route from joining his Celebrity Juice cohorts in Keith Lemon: The Film, (now stinking up multiplexes everywhere, review coming next week) he actually proves to be as likeable an actor as he was a comic. There's a little of Simon Pegg about his role here, but he acquits himself very well. He has particularly good chemistry with Lucy Punch, who stole the show in last year's Bad Teacher, and yet has disappointingly little to do as Saskia.

She figures much more in the second half of the film than in the first, which is a shame, because she excels in the by-now-obligatory improvised scenes, and in making Saskia a more rounded and sympathetic character than she might have been. It's all very soft and cuddly, as you might have expected from the director of Calendar Girls and Made in Dagenham, but the lack of bite comes at no cost to the sense of humour, which is consistent throughout.

The film makes its one great found footage gag, about an establishing shot of a moving car, in the latter half of the film, and it's when Raif passes off the camera to Matt Berry, who plays his clueless bandmate, Roger, that it all becomes more lively. With Hound's hands free of the camera, we can actually get a perspective on him, rather than merely seeing his perspective on the proceedings. Given how the first half serves as more of a satire of “Cheshire weddings”, the more relatable turn is welcome. I didn't know that big, over-the-top, corpulent wedding ceremonies were principally a Cheshire thing, but I got enough to know that few of the jokes were really, side-splittingly funny.

The Wedding Video may have a sweet centre, but that's not to say that it's ever as contrived or sentimental as many other romantic comedies. This one has a good, strong plot, bolstered by decent characters and performances, and a sense of humour that errs more towards the slow burn than the rapid-fire pace of bigger, more brash comedies, which have sometimes veered on automated irritation. A modest little film that doesn't really demand a big screen viewing- it's far better in its more intimate moments, than when it's poking fun at the upper classes, or mugging at the audience.

The Wedding Video is now showing in cinemas nationwide.
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If you've seen The Wedding Video, why not share your comments below? Next week will have a review every day! Shadow Dancer,
The Three Stooges, Keith Lemon: The Film, The Watch and Total Recall- I'm optimistic about two of those, and they're not the ones you'd think.

I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch.

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