Making a warm and witty Richard Curtis-style romcom is trickier than it looks, as director Paul Feig and screenwriter Emma Thompson discovered with 2019’s so-so Last Christmas. This Netflix original from writer-director Dean Craig (Death at a Funeral) is no classic either, but its lightweight blend of ideas borrowed from Curtis’s Four Weddings and a Funeral and late-’90s Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle Sliding Doors bounds by pleasantly enough. It helps that a likeable cast led by Olivia Munn get to deliver more laughs than fans of this fading genre are probably used to.
Craig’s screenplay is based on the French film Plan de Table – or “Table Plan” in English – and this simple scenario gives Love, Wedding, Repeat its farcical conceit. When coked-up former flame Marc (Jack Farthing) gatecrashes her elegant Rome wedding, Hayley (Eleanor Tomlinson) asks brother Jack (Sam Claflin) to spike his drink so he doesn’t embarrass her in front of fiancé Roberto (Tiziano Caputo) and his smart Italian family. Jack duly slips a sedative into a champagne glass by Marc’s place setting, but when some mischievous kids rearrange the table, it’s not clear who’ll end up drinking it.
Sliding Doors-style, Craig shows us how differently events might unfold depending on who drinks the sedative. Though his film takes place at Hayley and Roberto’s wedding, it’s made clear from the start that the central romance belongs to Claflin’s Jack, a bumbling Englishman in the Hugh Grant mould, and Munn’s Dina, a poised American war reporter he first met three years earlier. Craig balances the romantic entanglements of his supporting characters deftly enough, but they’re a mixed bag. Aisling Bea is typically good value as Rebecca, an enthusiastic friend who tends to say the wrong thing, but Freida Pinto is wasted as Jack’s two-dimensional nasty ex Amanda and Chaz (Allan Mustafa), an insecure alpha male obsessed with penis size, feels like a half-baked Ricky Gervais creation.
As you’d expect from a romcom that shows no real interest in originality, Love Wedding Repeat obeys the genre’s golden rule of letting good things happen to fundamentally nice people. Along the way, Craig throws in familiar visual gags such as a guest ruining a lavish wedding cake and two characters getting caught in a strange compromising position in the bathroom. Still, at a time when many of us are stuck indoors, there are worse forms of escapism than watching some moderately amusing mishaps play out at a glamorous Italian wedding.
- Director: Dean Craig
- Starring: Olivia Munn, Sam Claflin, Freida Pinto
- Release date: April 10
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