The Wilde Wedding (2017) Review

The Wilde Wedding is a 2017 comedy about a retired film star’s wedding to her fourth husband brings chaos when their families (and her ex-husband) shows up for the festivities.

The adult, quirky, contemporary comedy is a rare bird and that’s probably for the best. It’s takes a certain flare to get it right, something not many make work, with the likes of Wes Anderson undoubtedly this generation’s most accomplished auteur, with all due respect to Woody Allen. That’s not to say Damian HarrisThe Wilde Wedding doesn’t have a few sharp moments, the comedic disaster wedding not particularly new ground, but there’s no avoiding the cleanly aligned pieces that fit together all too precisely.

Eve Wilde (Glenn Close) is a retired film star, one of the most successful of her time, and it’s the weekend of her latest marriage. She’s getting hitched to ironic romance novelist Harold (Patrick Stewart), who is coming to her lavish seaside country estate with his two daughters and one of their friends to meet most of Eve’s misfit family. Among them include her son, songwriter Rory (Jack Davenport) and his ex-wife Priscilla (Minnie Driver), a fading, self-centered rock star, who barely see eye-to-eye anymore. There’s Ethan (Peter Facinelli), a womanizer who is close to stalky in his approach to the bevy of lovely ladies in attendance and Jimmy (Noah Emmerich) who falls in love with a look. In the mix is Eve’s granddaughter Lara (Brigette Lundy-Paine) who is filming an amateur documentary of the whole thing, which sees Eve’s first husband Laurence (John Malkovich) invited, himself an actor who gave Eve her break decades before and has yet to achieve the fame he himself craves.

With the large ensemble in place, and especially the talent assembled, it largely seems impossible that this couldn’t be something special, particularly when you recall the great work Close and Malkovich did some thirty years ago in Dangerous Liaisons. That re-teaming alone almost makes this worth it, and there was a significant part of me that couldn’t stop seeing them in those roles all during the movie. However, as movies like this must do, it settles into familiar territory with bickering, and miscommunication and entangled romances, separating them each with little bits of familial bonding that either gets awkward or tries to conjure some emotions. It’s all framed around the documentary, which periodically has the POV shift to a Lara’s camera, where she gets a peak at all the inside machinations. Some of this is sort of endearing while some is contrived, but it at least lends the film some plausible linkage.

Naturally, the wedding isn’t the thing, but rather the drama surrounding it, and as the movie splits apart into various tributaries, relationships both strengthen and weaken as they discover much about who they are and maybe how connected or attached they have allowed themselves to become, healthy or otherwise. All the while, we get plenty of sometimes uncomfortable moments of sing-alongs and family activities that far too often don’t ring genuine. As wine and some recreational drugs lower inhibitions, truths and such are exposed, but there is a very structured feel to it that leaves it lacking the more impactful highs and lows it might have had otherwise.

The Wilde Wedding attempts to create a wide generational dynamic and sometimes these bits offer some hope in giving the family greater depth, however with so many characters, it’s a little hard to get invested. Close, Malkovich, and Stewart are great fun to watch, and certainly the rest of the cast fulfill their obligations, yet it’s all a little too slick and too obvious to carry much weight, not to mention a bouncy, relentless score that works hard to layer it with a comedic sensibility. A harmless bit of fun, this is an easy-breezy comedy that accomplishes exactly what it’s designed for.

The Wilde Wedding (2017) Review

Movie description: The Wilde Wedding is a 2017 comedy about a retired film star's wedding to her fourth husband brings chaos when their families (and her ex-husband) shows up for the festivities.

Director(s): Damian Harris

Actor(s): Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Patrick Stewart

Genre: Comedy

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