Written by: Christopher Llewellyn Reed | December 4th, 2020
Love, Weddings, & Other Disasters (Dennis Dugan, 2020) 1 out of 4 stars.
There’s really not much good to say about Love, Weddings, & Other Disasters, the latest comedy from writer/director Dennis Dugan (Jack and Jill), beyond the fact that it does manage to elicit a chuckle or two here and there. Striving really hard to be a Bostonian, aseasonal Love Actually, the film packs gags galore and manic shenanigans into a breathless mix that never quite finds its footing. Add in a series of poor-taste blind jokes, a stalkerish love story played for romance, and cutesy mafia goons for good measure, and you have a recipe for that last item on the menu, disaster. Fasten your seatbelts; it’s a bumpy cinematic ride.
Among the large ensemble are two greats of their generation, somehow slumming here: Jeremy Irons (An Actor Prepares) and Diane Keaton (And So It Goes). They were, in fact, the reason I thought there might be some value in the affair. “How bad could it be?” I mused to myself. Pretty bad. Joined by a cast of far less notable – and less talented – players, including Maggie Grace (Supercon), the two luminaries do their best to embarrass themselves in the madcap rush to find comic fool’s gold. She’s blind, he’s not, and the resultant pratfalls are played for insulting laughs. With every twist in the surrounding misadventures pushed to its most absurd level, they are not alone in such mortification. The less said about the actress (to remain unnamed) who gamely speaks in the worst Russian accent ever put on screen, the better.
The plot, such as it is, centers around a florist (I think she’s a florist, or maybe she’s an event planner), played by Grace, hired by one of Boston’s mayoral candidates to plan his upcoming wedding. Or rather, it’s his fiancée who does the hiring, since neither she nor he can agree on anything and he just gives in on this one. In an opening prologue, we see Grace throw her own fiancé out of a plane when he hesitates to skydive, after which he breaks up with her midair, after which she dumps him in a lake and then, herself, lands on top of an outdoor wedding. The resultant video recording of the event lands her instant viral fame as the “wedding trasher,” so now single and wanting to earn a new moniker, she takes the new wedding gig. Ha, ha!
Meanwhile, on one of Boston’s Duck Tours, a longtime guide (Andrew Bachelor, The Babysitter) sees a woman on his tour with whom he instantly falls in love (after exchanging all of a few words), eventually enlisting local news, the above-mentioned mayoral candidate and what seems like the entire city of Boston to find her after she vanishes at the end of the ride. Somehow, there are legions of adult women who will line up for the chance to be chosen by a random handsome stranger as his bride. Who knew? Then again, the actor’s name is Bachelor, so we’re not all that far from a certain reality show …
And then there are the Russians. The candidate’s ne’er-do-well brother, in debt and looking for a quick influx of cash, gets himself chained to a woman named Olga on a game show (hosted by the director of this movie, no less). If they can remain so linked for a certain amount of time, they stand to win a million bucks. When the local Russian mafia steps in, that’s when things get really scary. Or funny. I forget which.
The entire film is shot on the cheap and looks it. Nothing feels real, from the understaffed campaign to the words that come out of people’s mouths to the fact that Irons and Keaton are in this mess. Disasters abound, so stay away.